Covid: Concerns for family and friends as India crisis worsens

As the UK sends urgently-needed medical equipment to India to help with the country's Covid-19 crisis, people in Leicestershire with relatives or friends in India have expressed grave concerns.

Leicestershire has one of the largest Indian communities in the UK, and people living there are gravely concerned that India has set a world record for new coronavirus infections for the fifth day in a row.

Ravi Kapadia's parents live in the Indian city of Ahmdebad in Gujarat and he speaks to them twice day.

They say if you fall ill, there is no oxygen and all the hospital beds are full. 

Ravi, from Birstall in Leicestershire, says it's worrying and he feels "helpless."

Tajindar Kaur from Leicester is concerned about her father-in-law.

Sukh-Dev Singh is 83. He used to live in the city but moved to the Punjab when he retired.

"He's there alone, we just want him to be safe. There's nothing we can do," she says.

The situation in India:

There are reports of people dying in the roads, because hospitals are operating at full capacity.

A hospital bed only becomes available when someone dies.

In some cities, funeral pyres are constantly burning as grounds have had to be converted into crematoriums for the amount of Covid-19 victims.

There has been a critical shortage of oxygen in overrun hospitals, such as in New Delhi and in Virar, near Mumbai.

Burning pyres of Covid-19 victims at a crematorium in New Delhi. Credit: PA

India has reported 323,144 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, with 2,771 deaths. It is the world’s highest daily toll since the pandemic began, for the sixth consecutive day.

197,894 people have died from coronavirus in the country, the fourth highest number in the world. Although the number is expected to be vastly underestimated.

Over 17.6 million have been infected, which is the second highest number after the United States.

Experts say vaccinations are the only way out of this crisis, but inoculation rates are stalling.


Number of people who have died from Covid-19 in India, as of Tuesday 27 April
The wave of infections facing India has been spurred on by the emergence of a new variant, and the supply of oxygen is at a critical level. Credit: PA

How can I help?

You can donate to international and local organisations in India working to provide relief and urgent supplies.

  • ActionAid is distributing food packages and supplies. They are also translating vital public health advice into local languages and ensuring it reaches the most marginalised communities. 

  • Mission Oxygen - Helping Hospitals Save Lives. A group in New Delhi is crowdfunding to urgently procure thousands of oxygen concentrators for hospitals across the country.

  • Feeding From Far is another fundraiser on Ketto (India's crowdfunding website) and they are distributing ration kits and food to the disadvantaged in Mumbai.

  • The Uday Foundation has been feeding underprivileged patients and their families while they wait for their treatment outside hospitals in Delhi.

  • The Hemkunt Foundation is supplying oxygen to Covid patients in Delhi for free, with a 'drive thru' site.

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