‘We Trekked on Glaciers & Carried COVID Aid to Himalayan Villages’

Members of Rung community stepped up with a COVID-relief mission to Uttarakhand’s Himalayan Villages

My Report
2 min read

Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the country, sparing not even the interiors and remote villages of Uttarakhand on the foothills of the Himalayas.

Bad roads and poor connectivity are seemingly keeping the authorities away from these villages. Moved by the difficulties faced by the people of such areas, the members of the Rung community, who now live in cities, decided to step up for their hometown with a COVID-relief mission.

An Arduous Journey

With altitudes ranging from 2,000 metres to 3,600 metres, it was a Herculean task for the volunteers to carry the relief materials to these villages. Members of Rung Kalyan Sanstha reached out to 43 Rung villages in the remote areas of Dharchula and distributed COVID-relief kits, containing medicines, oximeters, thermometers, thermal scanners, masks, gloves, sanitisers, and PPE.

Medical supplies were procured and assembled at Haldwani in Uttarakhand. By 19 May, these kits were despatched to Dharchula, from where they were slated to be distributed among villages.

Most of the villages in the Dharchula tehsil, where we managed to provide aid, don't have proper roads and telecommunication services. When the weather turned bad and it rained, the roads got blocked. Then the only mode of transport to reach these areas – a 4×4 vehicle – would also be unable to go any further.

In such situations, volunteers had to trek through the mountains and glaciers for several hours with the load of relief materials on their shoulders.

Volunteers carry COVID-relief Kits on their shoulders.
Volunteers carry COVID-relief Kits on their shoulders.

A lot of these Himalayan villages, like everywhere else in India, were hesitant to undergo COVID testing. The volunteers not only delivered medical supplies, but also spoke to the villagers and their Gram Pradhans and ASHA workers about COVID, its symptoms, protocols, and the usage of the items in the kit.

In collaboration with the local authorities, testing camps were also set up to avoid spreading of the virus in these villages as the nearest hospital is in Dharchula, which is 75 km from the last Indian Rung village, Kuti.

Now, with the onset of the monsoon, connectivity to these villages has taken a massive hit. Trying to stay afloat amid this massive second wave, Rung Kalyan Sanstha is ready with another batch of medical and food supplies for these villages. As soon as the roads open up, another round of supplies would soon find its way to the residents of these remote areas.

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