4th May 2021
India is currently weathering the darkest chapter of the pandemic that any country has seen so far. Having recently recorded 200,000 coronavirus deaths, India has become the fourth country to pass 200,000 deaths, following closely behind the US, Brazil and Mexico. Harrowing scenes and stories have been shared across social media as the virus surges and systems are buckling under the pressure. Experts believe that the official figures released for infections and fatalities are severe undercounts, making the crisis even worse than what we see in the media.
The virus has broken India’s health system, leaving front line workers overwhelmed and severely ill patients in dire need of oxygen. The essential supplies have completely run out in some hospitals, leaving relatives of the ill begging for oxygen, medications and empty beds. Some hospitals have even had to turn patients needing treatment away. Images of mass cremations and bodies piled high show the sheer scale of human loss the country is enduring.
Several countries have pledged to support India through this awful time, the UK being one of them. The UK has recently announced it is sending 600 pieces of vital medical equipment to India, some of which included ventilators and oxygen concentrator devices. This support came following requests from India for the UK to do all it can to help.
In response, Boris Johnson has said “We stand side by side with India as a friend and partner during what is a deeply concerning time in the fight against Covid-19.” “I’m determined to make sure that the UK does everything it can to support the international community in the global fight against the pandemic”
Some doctors in the UK have said that this is not enough and that the UK needs to do more to help India through this. A body of 6,000 doctors of Indian origin in the UK have written to Boris Johnson requesting further medical equipment to be sent to India as a “matter of urgency”. The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) has taken matters into its own hands as it believes the UK’s delivery of aid was “miniscule and a drop in the ocean”. Dr JS Bamrah from BAPIO told Sky News, “There are a whole lot of Indian doctors here with strong ties to India, we feel helpless because we can’t go there to help”, “we have a moral obligation to help out where we can, that’s what we’re trained to do”. India has recently been added to the travel red list, making flights to India limited and relatives in Britain extremely worried about the situation.
We can all do our bit to help India through this, the situation in India is a bleak reminder that the pandemic is showing no sign of easing and that none of us will be safe until everyone is safe.
There are many charities raising money to help the people in India. Just to name two, British Red Cross is raising money to help provide oxygen, PPE, first aid and ambulance services. Another charity, Give India is providing cooked food to the millions who are going hungry in India, food is being provided to orphanages, elderly in need and sick patients.