India continues to struggle with ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks
13 Jul 21
As New South Wales negotiates its lockdown, communities across India continue to struggle with ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks, with a concerning impact on some of the poorest and most marginalised.
Now in its second wave, the COVID-19 outbreak is hitting all citizens hard, regardless of age and co-morbidities as this humanitarian crisis continues to unfold with the country reaching close to a staggering 30 million infections.
“We have never, in our independent history, seen people running helter-skelter looking for hospital beds, oxygen and other medical supplies as happened during this wave,” said Father Paul Moonjely, Executive Director of Caritas India.
“It is heart-wrenching to see people gasping for breath, lying outside or on the floor of hospital corridors. The healthcare system has taken its toll in the country.”
“In the first wave, manufacturing and many parts of the economy came to a grinding halt. Many people lost their jobs making their survival, and that of their families, almost impossible. The second wave has seen a similar situation spreading to the rural areas, impacting farmers who were not prepared for this chaos.”
“We’re still struggling to vaccinate our large population. Vaccine shortages and vaccine hesitancy have made this task difficult.”
Caritas Australia’s partner, Caritas India, is working to strengthen the health infrastructure and ensure that the most vulnerable populations still have access to life-saving treatment.
Caritas India is setting up priority treatment centres for COVID-19 patients providing medical care and food at either no cost or subsidised cost, to ensure that marginalised people do not miss out. The 77 centres set up have so far reached 4,702 patients in 16 states.
Caritas India is also working with Catholic Relief Services to address misinformation about COVID-19 in communities, through a network of 10,000 volunteers across the country to spread life-saving information about the importance of COVID-19 treatment and vaccination.
Visit caritas.org.au/ or call 1800 024 413 toll free to provide much needed support to vulnerable communities in Asia by donating to our Asia Regional Appeal.
Bernice Sarpong, Caritas Australia’s Emergency Program Coordinator for Asia is available for interview.
Father Paul Moonjely, Caritas India’s Executive Director is available for interview from India.