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India’s COVID-19 crisis: As feds pledge $10M, here’s how Canadians can help

As India’s health-care system continues to be pushed to the brink of collapse amid a surge of COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that Canada is set to donate $10 million to the Indian Red Cross as well as provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators.

Trudeau talked about the “heartbreaking news from hospitals in India that are unable to keep up with the number of patients” and said Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau has spoken with the Indian government on how Canada can help.

“We are also ready to provide $10 million – through the Canadian Red Cross – to the Indian Red Cross,” Trudeau said. “This will support everything from ambulance services to buying more PPE locally.”

READ MORE: As COVID-19 cases explode in India, Canada ready to help with medical supplies, Anand says

A timeline on the donation still remains unclear.

Countries across the world, including Canada, have pledged to help India as the country continues to grapple with COVID-19 cases and deaths, with hospitals running out of oxygen, ventilators, beds and life-saving medicine.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said on Tuesday she has been in touch with the high commissioner in India to “ascertain the precise supplies that are needed in India and how best Canada can support the needs that India clearly has.”

In an emailed statement to Global News, Anand’s office said on April 23 they had “no further information” on what types of PPE would be delivered or when more medical supplies would arrive.

What can Canadians do?

As the federal government prepares to send funds and equipment to India, here is a list of organizations through which Canadians can help as well:

The Canadian Red Cross is offering support to the Indian Red Cross to deliver assistance and support to communities affected or at risk of being affected by the virus. This includes communication and community engagement, COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery activities in India, according to its website.

Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE), a global humanitarian agency that helps in delivering emergency relief, has been working in India to provide on-the-ground resources during the crisis.

The organization is accepting donations to support Indian health workers with PPE kits.

Sewa International, a nonprofit organization that specializes in disaster relief and rehabilitation, said it is sending an initial shipment of 400 oxygen concentrators and other emergency medical devices and supplies to India and is working on procuring more from multiple suppliers around the world.

Associating for India’s Development (AID) is accepting donations for its India COVID-19 relief fund which goes towards face shields, food supplies and educational materials.

Give2Asia, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, started a COVID-19 relief fund for India, which helps support local charities.

The organization is raising funding for emergency medical supplies (PPEs, hand sanitizer and soap) for front-line workers and financial support for marginalized families.

Click to play video: International concern over India’s COVID crisis

Project Mumbai and GiveIndia are supporting a fundraising initiative to help restore the country’s health infrastructure.

“With the money raised, we hope to help citizens get better facilities in hospitals, boost oxygen supply wherever possible, provide PPE kits, gloves, masks, and machinery wherever required,” the website states.

Mazdoor Kitchen is a local charity in New Delhi that provides meals to daily wage workers in the city.

The charity is run by a group of volunteers to give meals and ration kits to hundreds of people across North Delhi, ever since the beginning of the lockdown, according to its website.

Oxfam India is distributing medical equipment and accessories, PPE, safety kits, and food to hospitals and health centres.

Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres) is working with the Indian government to treat COVID-19 patients as well as provide masks and sanitizer to health-care workers.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a nongovernmental organization in India, is providing meals or packed grocery kits to marginalized and low-income people in the country, such as daily wage workers, migrant labourers, construction site workers, and people at old age homes and night shelters, according to its website.

What other nations are doing

The World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the situation in India “beyond heartbreaking” on Monday, adding that WHO would be sending extra staff and supplies there to help fight the pandemic.

The EU said it would be sending medicine and oxygen to India in the coming days. “The EU is pooling resources to respond rapidly to India’s request for assistance,” said Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, on Twitter.

Read more:
India’s crematoriums overwhelmed as COVID-19 cases surge

Vital medical supplies started pouring into India from the United Kingdom on Tuesday.

A shipment from Britain, including 100 ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators, arrived in New Delhi, according to Reuters, while France is sending oxygen generators able to provide 250 patients with a year’s worth of the gas, its embassy said.

On Sunday, U.S. President Joe Biden said the country will immediately start sending raw materials for COVID-19 vaccines, medical equipment and protective gear to help India.

“Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need,” Biden said on Twitter after the White House announced a list of measures.

The U.S. also committed to sharing with India some of its unused 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not been given approval by U.S. authorities.

— With files from Reuters

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