Suspension of communication means hits covid-19 fight



In occupied Kashmir, the welfare activities of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have come to standstill after the authorities shut down network of all private mobile operators and the internet.
Dozens of NGOs across the Valley have played an important role during the lockdown owing to COVID-19 distributing thousands of food kits to needy, protective face-masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits among medical staff.
Businessman Ubaid Wani told newsmen at Hyderpora in Srinagar that it was difficult for the volunteers of his NGO ‘Humanix’ to continue their activities in absence of phone and internet services.
“With no mobile connectivity it is impossible for our field volunteers to leave for distribution,” he said, adding that it was logistically not possible to make food deliveries as locating addresses of beneficiaries without making phone calls was difficult. “We are waiting for mobile service to be restored so that we can resume distribution,” Ubaid Wani said.
Bashir Nadvi, Chairman of the NGO ‘Athrout’ told media that the non-availability of mobile and internet connectivity had also hampered the welfare activities of his organization.
He said, his NGO used to receive hundreds of phone calls every day from people in need which have drastically reduced due to mobile service suspension. “People in need of essentials used to reach out to us on our helplines which have turned defunct. We used to make phone calls to our existing 750 beneficiaries for conveying them about timings to pick up their quota of essentials. But suspension of mobile networks has disturbed this entire process,” he deplored.
Bashir Nadvi said that the free ambulance and ‘Doc on Call’ service offered by the NGO had also been affected in absence of mobile network. Muhammad Shafi Qureshi, founder of ‘Spring Buds Educational Trust’, Budgam, which has been doing social work in far-flung villages of the district, said that the mobile service suspension had hit them hard.—KMS

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