India will receive urgent humanitarian assistance from 14 of the UK’s leading aid charities as it tackles an overwhelming coronavirus surge.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which brings together a number of UK organisations, has extended its Coronavirus appeal to include the country and will assist in efforts to slow the spread of the virus and provide further help to the most vulnerable households.
Chief executive Saleh Saeed said: “We have all seen the devastating images from India showing hospitals overrun and oxygen supplies falling short of demand, with thousands of people unable to receive potentially life-saving treatment.
“Several cities have imposed lockdowns and curfews, which will have a knock-on effect for people’s livelihoods, with the poorest and most marginalised communities hit hardest.
“DEC member charities have a long history of working with these communities and are supporting overwhelmed health services by providing medical supplies, treatment facilities and logistics assistance.
“With the generous support of the UK public, we can do even more to help the most vulnerable communities as they face a life-or-death situation.”
Organisations, including the Indian Red Cross, ActionAid, Oxfam India and Save the Children, will help support the country’s health system by providing PPE, disinfection kits, medical supplies and ambulances, and setting up isolation facilities.
Member charities will create temporary Covid hospitals and care centres, as well as provide ventilators and oxygen concentrators to the Indian government.
They will also run helplines to tackle misinformation.
The DEC will scale up preventive measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 among the most vulnerable communities.
This includes handwashing stations, distributing hygiene kits, supporting vaccination drives and disinfecting public places.
Vulnerable households will be helped get enough food to prevent malnutrition, particularly among children.
The group of charities will be supporting ministries of education to ensure safe school operations as well as supporting children, families and teachers to continue education if schools close.
The DEC’s Coronavirus appeal, which began in July 2020, has been helping the poorest communities in a number of countries tackle the pandemic — including Yemen, Syria, and South Sudan.
Donations can be made online at www.dec.org.uk or via a 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900.