India's Covid crisis: How people in Cumbria and southern Scotland are helping


As coronavirus cases continue to surge in India, people in Cumbria and the South of Scotland are trying to help in any way they can.

Cases of the virus have now topped 20 million and the official death toll has passed 220,000 - as staggering as those numbers are, the true figures are believed to be much higher.

Watching events unfold thousands of miles away, Khandu Joseph decided to combine her love of cooking with fundraising.

For a donation she is making curries in the kitchen of the River of Life Church in Dumfries, with the money sent to help those sick and struggling.

Khandu Joseph Credit: ITV News

She is in constant contact with friends and family in and around Dehli. She told ITV Border: "Every day I'm getting some kind of sad news; someone passing away of Covid or someone who is positive, so just a lot of sad news coming through and it just breaks my heart." 

Through her church, Khandu has previously helped with Covid appeals in Dumfries but this time it's those in the place of her birth most in need.

"The situation, if I can say in one word, especially for the poor, is to die of Covid or die of hunger especially those already living in poverty", she said.

In Carlisle, Urvesh Bhagudia has also been watching developments. His elderly father lives in Mumbai but has been able to have his vaccine.

Urvesh Bhagudia Credit: ITV News

Others aren't so lucky and he has been fundraising for labourers families who have no money if they cannot work.

He said: ""114 families - we gave them supplies, food grains and food packets before this lockdown started and these are daily wage earners.

"The government has a good scheme over there to cover for the medical, but the earning goes away and they will be starving." 

Both will carry on their efforts - doing even a little bit means a lot during these times.

How can I help?

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has extended its coronavirus appeal to include India in order to provide aid and medical supplies to the country. Those wishing to donate can do so here.