Meet Varsha Varma, Who Ferries Bodies Of COVID-19 Victims And Ensures Dignity For The Dead

Meet Varsha Varma, Who Ferries Bodies Of COVID-19 Victims And Ensures Dignity For The Dead

Lucknow’s Versha Varma is providing free service to ferry and cremate victims of COVID-19 in Lucknow
After her friend’s death, Ms Varma faced a huge challenge to find an ambulance to take her friend’s body for cremationAfter her friend’s death, Ms Varma faced a huge challenge to find an ambulance to take her friend’s body for cremation
Highlights
  • Ms Varma started the facility after she lost her close friend to COVID
  • Ms Varma is an author by profession
  • Ms Varma has helped over 1,500 people in Lucknow

New Delhi: When India was in the grip of the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all hospitals and health care services across the country were stretched. People were struggling to arrange oxygen cylinders, medicines, hospital beds, and even access crematorium services. One such person was Lucknow’s, Versha Varma.

During the second wave, Ms Varma’s close friend was severely ill with COVID-19 and passed away in April. After her friend’s death, Ms Varma faced a huge challenge to find an ambulance to take her friend’s body for cremation.

Also Read: COVID Warriors: ‘Doctors On Wheels’ Address COVID-19 Healthcare Needs In Rural India

Ms Varma tells NDTV that she believes that most people faced similar problems during the second wave. She said,

I think the second wave did not spare anyone, every house has been impacted. When I lost my friend in Lucknow’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in April, I could not arrange an ambulance for her body as they were asking for too much money due to shortage.

Ms Varma said that she didn’t feel that she or anybody should be paying Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 for a distance of just 2-3 km from the Hospital to the nearest crematorium. That experience pushed her to take the mantle into her own hands and strive to help people caught in similar situations. She added,

After cremating my friend, I thought those who are dying are all our people. So, next day I hired a car and parked it at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital for people to use it for the same purpose.

That was when she realised that there are many people who needed the service, and just one van was not enough.

So we increased the number of vans. At the moment we have four vans that are covering all the big hospitals of Lucknow, Ms Varma said.

Also Read: Chennai Based Artist Designs ‘COVID-19 Vaccine Auto’ To Create Awareness About Vaccination

An author by profession, since then she has been tirelessly ferrying deceased COVID-19 patients and conducting their last rites for free.

There was a day when I was in my PPE kit, and I took a body to the cremation ground and I saw more than 100 bodies being cremated. The sight overwhelmed me, and I could not control my tears. That day I made myself stronger and decided that this is not the time to cry. This is the time to make sure people don’t suffer at least because of money or ambulance shortage.

When even family members of deceased COVID patients are fearful of performing the last rites of the dead, Ms Varma has been risking her life and making countless trips between hospitals and crematoriums to ensure dignity for the dead.

We get inspiration from Madam, if one lady can do so much, so should we. Our families also support us in this because of her dedication, a volunteer who is working with Ms Varma tells NDTV.

Ms Varma has helped more than 1,500 people in Lucknow till date.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

19,66,15,634Cases
6,33,31,644Active
12,90,85,240Recovered
41,98,750Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 194 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 19,66,15,634 and 41,98,750 have died; 6,33,31,644 are active cases and 12,90,85,240 have recovered as on July 30, 2021 at 4:07 am.

India

3,15,72,344 44,230Cases
4,05,155 1,315Active
3,07,43,972 42,360Recovered
4,23,217 555Deaths
In India, there are 3,15,72,344 confirmed cases including 4,23,217 deaths. The number of active cases is 4,05,155 and 3,07,43,972 have recovered as on July 30, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

62,90,156 7,242

81,933 3,980

60,75,888 11,032

1,32,335 190

Kerala

33,49,365 22,064

1,55,327 5,287

31,77,453 16,649

16,585 128

Karnataka

29,01,247 2,052

23,277 685

28,41,479 1,332

36,491 35

Tamil Nadu

25,55,664 1,859

21,207 314

25,00,434 2,145

34,023 28

Andhra Pradesh

19,62,049 2,107

21,279 280

19,27,438 1,807

13,332 20

Uttar Pradesh

17,08,373 60

784 16

16,84,834 44

22,755

West Bengal

15,26,539 766

11,300 70

14,97,116 822

18,123 14

Delhi

14,36,144 51

554 19

14,10,541 70

25,049

Chhattisgarh

10,01,781 130

2,086 140

9,86,175 270

13,520

Odisha

9,74,132 1,615

15,276 489

9,53,088 2,039

5,768 65

Rajasthan

9,53,622 17

259 9

9,44,410 26

8,953

Gujarat

8,24,829 27

268 6

8,14,485 33

10,076

Madhya Pradesh

7,91,796 18

130 0

7,81,153 18

10,513

Haryana

7,69,858 30

712 10

7,59,516 17

9,630 3

Bihar

7,24,719 46

481 1

7,14,596 42

9,642 3

Telangana

6,43,716 623

9,188 126

6,30,732 746

3,796 3

Punjab

5,99,005 58

553 6

5,82,162 60

16,290 4

Assam

5,64,030 1,299

14,114 385

5,44,695 1,664

5,221 20

Jharkhand

3,47,105 56

259 22

3,41,720 34

5,126

Uttarakhand

3,41,982 48

669 3

3,33,952 51

7,361

Jammu And Kashmir

3,21,207 181

1,144 5

3,15,686 175

4,377 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,05,728 229

1,098 145

2,01,110 84

3,520

Goa

1,70,900 90

1,077 5

1,66,679 93

3,144 2

Puducherry

1,20,725 98

972 49

1,17,961 49

1,792

Manipur

96,824 1,000

10,895 27

84,408 1,016

1,521 11

Tripura

78,059 271

3,640 221

73,665 488

754 4

Meghalaya

63,745 731

5,750 294

56,933 423

1,062 14

Chandigarh

61,948 5

37 1

61,102 4

809

Arunachal Pradesh

47,477 335

4,252 49

43,000 383

225 1

Mizoram

37,171 764

11,862 252

25,168 511

141 1

Nagaland

27,653 67

1,299 51

25,798 114

556 4

Sikkim

26,132 276

3,297 180

22,498 92

337 4

Ladakh

20,324 4

60 4

20,057 8

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,643 1

36 5

10,603 6

4

Lakshadweep

10,162 7

70 6

10,042 13

50

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,534 3

10 3

7,395

129

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