India’s Covid epidemic is still growing, as the second wave of COVID-19 brings devastation across the country.
CAFOD is working with its long-established and experienced emergency local Church agency, Caritas India, to provide vital support to poor and marginalised communities in some of the worst-hit areas.
With more than 17 million confirmed cases and the death toll exceeding 200,000 the situation in India is beyond crisis point.
Caritas India staff and volunteers are working to reach vulnerable families in some of the worst affected areas.
They are looking at providing support that goes beyond supplying oxygen but ensures healthcare professionals have access to PPE and that vulnerable groups have access to clean water and hygiene information.
CAFOD has released £200,000 to Caritas India for this vital work, as a response to an appeal for support.
Fr Paul Moonjely, Executive Director of Caritas India, described how the flood of new infections has overwhelmed the healthcare system, leading the country into a “helpless but not hopeless” situation.
“About one in three cases of COVID 19 recorded each day worldwide is in India and the rate of new infections is growing faster than it is in any other nation,” says Fr Paul.
“Our frontline health workers and volunteers are working round-the-clock to keep up with the pace of health measures. Furnaces have melted down from overuse and additional funeral platforms are being built outside.
“Such are the heart-breaking messages and haunting images that highlight the formidable second wave of the coronavirus pandemic raging through the country. The Church in India has lost many of its faithful laity and religious brothers and sisters in their pursuit to serve the distressed population.”
Matthew Carter, Head of Emergency Response for CAFOD, said: “Caritas and the people of India are our brothers and sisters, and CAFOD is working to support them during this time of dire need.
“Here in the UK, we’ve seen first-hand how coronavirus can devastate communities. During the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 here, Caritas India regularly contacted me to ask how people are coping and to offer their prayers – this is a fraternal partnership.
“Although India is seen as a growing economy, the Indian government does not have many of the resources that are vitally needed at their fingertips, and they do not have the same resources we have in the UK.
“Many of their leaders are saying: ‘We do not have the ability to stop our economy without it resulting in even greater levels of poverty.’ The reality is that many families must keep working to put food on the table. Working with Caritas India, we can help to support vulnerable families in the greatest need.”
Caritas India aid workers will be:
- Promoting lifesaving COVID and vaccine information awareness campaigns in communities
- Distributing PPE kits to frontline health workers working in community hospitals and clinics
- Distributing medical kits – which include masks
- Delivering food parcels to the most vulnerable families
- Setting up safely run isolation and quarantine centres
For further information, interviews or briefings please contact: Nana Anto-Awuakye on: Email – firstname.lastname@example.org – Mobile: 07799477541 OR CAFOD’s 24-hour media hotline on +44 (0)7919 301 429
CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and part of Caritas International. We reach out to people living in poverty with practical help, whatever their religion or culture. Help us build a world where no one is beyond reach of the love and care they need.
Lord, we pray for those who need ongoing medical treatment who are forced to wait at this time. God, please watch over their health and help them to stay positive and patient. We pray that we overcome this global crisis and that after this pandemic, we build a more just and humane world. Amen.