Here’s how you can help those affected by India’s COVID-19 disaster


India has been devastated by a ferocious new wave of COVID-19, with oxygen supplies diminishing and hospital beds full as the total virus caseload tops 20 million.

While there are hopes the worst of the wave may have passed – with new infections down from a peak of 402,000 last week – the country still recorded more than 350,000 new cases on Tuesday and another 3,449 deaths.

Many experts suspect the true number to be much higher.

India’s healthcare infrastructure has struggled to cope and Bihar, a state of around 120 million people, has become the latest region to impose a lockdown.

If you’re concerned about the situation, there are a number of ways Australians can help fund emergency relief.

Multiple funeral pyres of COVID-19 victims burn at a ground that has been converted into a crematorium for mass cremation in New Delhi, on 24 April.

AP via AAP

UNICEF Australia

The humanitarian agency has launched an appeal to provide lifesaving assistance to those affected by the deadly outbreak. UNICEF Australia says donations will help increase access to oxygen through the provision of oxygen generation plants in hospitals, provide rapid COVID-19 testing machines and support the distribution of vaccines.

“Throughout the world, children have become the hidden victims of the pandemic. In India we have already seen more than a hundred million pushed further into poverty, losing their education, facing heightened risk of abuse or exploitation or experiencing the devastation of seeing their parents or caregivers fall ill or die,” UNICEF’s director of international programs Felicity Butler-Wever said in a statement.

“UNICEF is on the ground, working with partners to deliver urgently needed medical equipment including oxygen, PPE, hygiene supplies and critical care. But we urgently need help to do more.”

More information is available at https://www.unicef.org.au/appeals/india-covid-19-crisis.

Care Australia

The aid organisation has launched an appeal to support its India team, as it works to set up temporary hospitals with medical staff, oxygen, medication and PPE kits.

Care Australia says its 100-bed COVID facility in eastern India’s Bihar has already started seeing patients, but more health facilities, oxygen support, medicine, vaccination support, health education and PPE are still needed on the ground.

For more information visit https://www.care.org.au/appeals/india-covid-19-appeal/.

Oxfam

Oxfam is working to get protective equipment to health workers and hygiene kits to those at risk, having warned that many people in India without sanitation, who are using shared toilets and water points will “have no means to follow COVID-19 guidelines”.

The organisation says it also intends to transfer cash to poor households, and provide food to vulnerable communities and stranded workers.

“Sporadic lockdowns and curfews have already triggered another exodus of migrant workers, putting them at risk of not just contracting COVID-19 but also prolonged months without jobs or money,” Oxfam in India said in a statement.

To donate to the organisation’s coronavirus appeal, which supports not only India but some of the world’s poorest countries, visit https://secure.oxfam.org.au/donate/coronavirus.

Australian Red Cross

The Red Cross has launched a global appeal, supporting partners across Asia Pacific and beyond to scale up their emergency activities and sustain essential services in response to COVID-19. The appeal also supports services for people in high-risk groups in Australia.

Australian Red Cross’s director of international programs, Michael Annear, has said they will prioritise people most at risk.

“The pictures and news we are seeing out of India and Papua New Guinea are simply horrifying. We are also concerned about increasing cases in Pakistan, Nepal, Philippines and new cases in Fiji,” Mr Annear said in a media release.

“Our hearts go out to the millions of people affected and we stand in solidarity as we step up Australian assistance.”

For more information, visit https://www.redcross.org.au/campaigns/covid-19-response.

Human Appeal Australia

International development organisation Human Appeal Australia (HUA) works to tackle poverty and social injustice.

As the HUA team works in India to provide relief, the organisation is taking donations for hygiene kits, food parcels and oxygen tanks. HUA says donors can also contribute to establishing two oxygen concentration plants that allow hospitals to keep providing oxygen to patients.

For more information, visit https://www.humanappeal.org.au/campaign/an-urgent-call-to-help-our-brothers-sisters-in-india/.

World Vision

World Vision is fundraising for more hospital beds, oxygen machines and medical supplies in some of the worst-hit districts, as it mourns the loss of staff to the virus in India.

The humanitarian aid organisation says it has refocused its COVID-19 response due to the country’s urgent needs, and is set to allocate about $2.5 million for beds and oxygen concentrators in 93 hospitals.

World Vision Australia’s chief executive Daniel Wordsworth said the organisation would be responding for a long time to come.

“There’s the response and then the recovery, and we will be heavily involved in the recovery phase for these communities,” he said in a media release.

For more information or to donate, visit https://www.worldvision.com.au/end-corona.

Crowdfunding

A number of people have also turned to crowdfunding to help support individuals and communities, with GoFundMe Australia providing a list of verified fundraisers here.  

They include several efforts to provide medical services and supplies, as well as fundraisers to support garment workers, individuals and families affected by COVID-19 in India.

With reporting by AFP.





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