India is facing a devastating second wave of coronavirus. The country has confirmed more than 16 million cases and more than 200,000 deaths, with some reports concerned that the number of deaths is just the tip of the iceberg, because of under reporting.
The pandemic has put a strain on the medical infrastructure of the country, with hospitals unable to cope with the influx of patients.
CAFOD has already pledged £200,000 to their partners Caritas India. They will be distributing medical kits and setting up temporary treatment centres as well as providing PPE to frontline health workers. They are also helping families to provide home-based care for mild cases, raising awareness of the vaccine, and how to avoid further spread of the virus.
Caritas India are responding in some of the worst-hit areas: Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Delhi. Matthew Carter, Head of Emergency Response at CAFOD, said:
“Caritas India has been a long-term partner and friend for CAFOD. The bulk of their work is responding to major crises - and this crisis is no different. They lead within India and they reached out as a partner, asking for our support. They are working with the most vulnerable households, helping them to survive this terrible crisis.
"They are looking already working with and supporting communities. But it is clear this support must go beyond the supply of oxygen. It is looking at things like making sure healthcare professionals have access to PPE, that vulnerable groups and households have access to clean water and food."
The Church is doing all that it can to reach vulnerable families. Father Paul Moonjely, Executive Director of Caritas India, said in a letter to the Caritas family:
“Our frontline health workers and volunteers are working round-the-clock to keep up with the pace of health measures - 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. There is a strong urgency to reach out to the strained and stranded population that has been dispossessed and isolated. We are faced with a massive challenge of preventing our healthcare system from further collapse until enough people can be vaccinated to significantly reduce the flow of patients."