Panaji | Goa | India | 22nd July 2021: The Support Group for COVID Warriors in Goa, which is a Trust formed by six like-minded people from all over India who have made Goa their retirement home, has donated 8 ambulances, 4 each to the District Collector’s Office in North Goa and South Goa, in an endeavour to support the COVID warriors. Led by Mr Hemant Bhasin, who is the former President of the Rotary Club of Delhi Southend, the trustees have donated over INR 46 Lakh, of which Mr Bhasin himself has donated INR 11 Lakh. Apart from eight ambulances, medical equipment worth more than INR 6 Lakh has also been donated by the Support Group for COVID Warriors in Goa.

(L) Mr Rajiv Thadani and (R) Mr Hemant Bhasin (Trustees, Support Group for COVID Warriors in Goa) handing over the ambulances to Mr Ajeet Roy (DC/DM, North Goa)

Goa was severely affected during the second wave of the pandemic, with positivity rate touching 51% during the period from April to May and a total of 1,798 deaths over a 42-day period from April 24 to June 7*. According to Mr Hemant Bhasin, Trustee, Support Group for COVID Warriors in Goa, “The situation was quite alarming and it was painful to see everyone struggling to get the medical systems upgraded with oxygen cylinders, ICU beds and medical equipment. The Government and the local administration in Goa worked very hard and did a fantastic job to manage this unprecedented crisis. Like many who have made this beautiful state our home post retirement, we earnestly wanted to lend our support to the State Government and the COVID warriors of Goa who have been fighting at the frontline to overcome this crisis. Therefore, we reached out to the Administration and when we were told that ambulances were in short supply, we decided to form a Trust through which we would donate some ambulances.”

The Support Group for COVID Warriors in Goa was registered as a Trust on May 12, 2021 and within a fortnight the money was collected to achieve the Trust’s objectives. The ambulances have been handed over to the South and North Goa District Collectors’ Offices, with the last ambulance delivered on July 9.    

Owing to their efforts, the Trust has received Certificates of Appreciation from the South and North Goa District Collectors’ Offices. In the Certificate received from Ms Ruchika Katyal, IAS (Collector & Chairperson, South Goa District Disaster Management Authority Margao), it is stated that, “The “Support Group for Covid Warriors in Goa” has rendered immense support to the District Administration and Medical Fraternity in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Their selfless donation of 4 EECO Ambulances, 125 Oxygen Flow Meter Regulators & 150 C-PAP/BIPAP Full Face Masks has been a timely help and has gone a long way in meeting the need at the height of the crisis.”

Regarding the future plans of the Trust, Mr Bhasin said, “We plan to start two new initiatives. Firstly, we will set up a Skill Development Centre for COVID widows and COVID affected people. After the completion of the skilling programme, we will also assist the graduates with job placement. Secondly, we will initiate a holistic healing programme for COVID affected children and those children whose education has been adversely affected due to the pandemic. We are in talks with the Goa Administration and will be launching these initiatives in the near future. Apart from that, we plan to continue raising funds for more ambulances and medical equipment to support the Goa Administration in its endeavour to be better prepared for future medical emergencies and a possible third wave of the pandemic.”