Mosque in Myanmar provides oxygen to needy people of different faiths amid Covid-19 wave

They started distributing free meals since last year too.

Faris Alfiq | July 12, 2021, 06:07 PM

A mosque in the southeastern part of Yangon, Myanmar, was seen to be refilling oxygen tanks as the country battles the Covid-19 outbreak.

Oxygen in short supply

As seen from pictures posted on Twitter by Myanmar activist Thinzar Shunlei Yi, dozens of people were queueing outside the Nwe Aye Sunni Jame Mosque. Blue-coloured oxygen tanks were seen lined up nearly outside the mosque as well.

Thinzar pointed out that the mosque has also delivered food daily to Covid-19 centres last year.

She added, "Myanmar must, from this Revolution onwards, embrace the diversity & respect the strength & love of minoritized religions towards others."

Access to medical supplies has been difficult in the country that has been rocked by political turmoil since the military took power in a coup on Feb. 1.

One resident told AP that oxygen is in such such supply that it's "scarcer than money".

Hospitals in certain areas have run out of bed spaces as well, according to The Irrawaddy. Patients were turned away, while those with mild symptoms were asked to rest at home.

Military hospitals are short on medical personnel and medicines too, and are reportedly only providing care to military personnel and their relatives.

These hospitals are also shunned by many residents, who don't trust the military for treatment.

Mosque reached out to people from other faiths since last year

Since September last year, the Nwe Aye mosque has been collecting funds and distributing pre-packaged meals to Covid-19 quarantine centres, hospitals and the homeless across Yangon, Vice World News reported.

Initially, the distribution was meant to be for Muslims who were unable to find halal food amidst the lockdown.

But as the situation became worse, with a second surge of Covid-19 cases, that changed.

"We never ask people their faith and belief when they ask us for help," said one trustee of the mosque, Zaw Min Latt. 

Vice further added that the mosque would distribute about 5,000 meals a day -- half in the morning, and another half in the afternoon.

People of different faiths, such as Buddhists and Hindus, have donated to the mosque as well.

Plans to produce five million vaccine doses a year

On Monday, July 12, an army spokesman told Reuters that the Myanmar military will ensure that oxygen plants will operate at full capacity.

As cases continue to rise, he said the army had struck an agreement with Russia to produce five million vaccine doses a year.

He further added that vaccinations would be open to those below the age of 18.

On July 11, Myanmar reported 3,461 new cases and 82 new deaths.

Top photo via @thinzashunleiyi/Twitter