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Thursday, May 6, 2021

India Covid crisis: Staffordshire couple 'helpless' as six relatives die

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Afshan Haque and her husband Shamim

image copyrightAfshan Haque

A couple who have lost six family members in three days in India amid the country’s worsening Covid crisis say they feel “helpless”.

Afshan Haque from Staffordshire said she and her husband, Shamim, are trying to help relatives but fear the situation there is out of control.

She said two extended family members died in one day and they are “shocked” at the extent of the crisis.

International aid has been sent to boost oxygen supplies as nearly 90% of stocks are being diverted for medical use.

Mrs Haque, from Acton Trussell, near Stafford, said the couple come from a family of doctors and have been “signposting” family members towards help and appealing for bed availability on social media.

‘A different world’

Her husband, who works as an anaesthetist at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, feels helpless when relatives call asking for help, she said.

Their families – in northern India near Varanasi and in southern India near Hyderabad – leave their homes early in the morning to search for oxygen and return hours later with just one cylinder, she said.

Patient in Mumbai

image copyrightEPA

“Unfortunately we have lost at least six of our extended family members and… we lost two in a day so it has been very tough on the extended family – they just bury one, they come back home and they’re preparing for another burial,” she said.

“That was in a matter of three days, it’s just very shocking.”

She said the pandemic felt under control just two week ago, “as if they were living in a different world” without Covid but it has now completely changed.

Mrs Haque said she hopes help from the international community will bring things under control while they continue to pray for their struggling relatives.

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