North East communities watch from afar as covid crisis rips through India

The Indian Community in Newcastle has begun fund raising to try to help family and friends struggling with the surge of Covid cases. 

The campaign has been started by members of Newcastle's Hindu Temple and hopes to raise thousands to pay for medical supplies.

India is now experiencing the world's most deadly second wave of coronavirus, with the official death toll in the country surpassing 200,000. However, there are concerns that the actual number may be considerably higher.

The country of nearly 1.4 billion people is facing a chronic shortage of space on its intensive care wards and hospitals are experiencing oxygen shortages.

Watching on from afar is the Indian community in the North East.

An online fundraising campaign by Newcastle's Hindu Temple has, so far, raised almost £4,000 to support people in India.

Ragendhu Subrahmanian came to Newcastle's Hindu temple to pray for her family back in India.

She works as a nurse in the city and her husband and two small children were supposed to come to join her, but they're now trapped in a dire situation. 

Sayan Maity is a student in Newcastle he was due to fly back to India to extend his visa.

He is worried about his family back home trying to deal with the new variant of the virus.

In a bid to tackle the shortage of beds, Indian authorities are turning to train carriages, which have been converted into isolation wards.

India has also started airlifting oxygen tankers to states in need. Special trains with oxygen supplies are also running in the country.

Julie Etchingham spoke to Barkha Dutt, a well-known figure in India and columnist for the Washington Post, shared the news of her father’s death on Tuesday.