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Manitobans raise thousands for India COVID-19 aid

India is struggling with a whopping 400,000 new COVID-19 cases each day, and Manitobans are doing their part to help.

A GoFundMe campaign organized by a Winnipegger — with the goal of helping to purchase $1,700 oxygen concentrators for India — had raised over $22,000 by Friday afternoon.

Despite a tough year for restaurants, Sachit Mehra of Winnipeg’s East India Company is on board, donating a portion of his proceeds to the cause.

“We’re getting by. As difficult as it is, there’s progress,” said Mehra. “But when you look at what’s going on in India right now, it’s a crisis of humanity.”

Mehra told 680 CJOB the situation has been “sheer panic” for many people, and he didn’t fully understand the scope of the crisis until placing some calls to relatives in India who described the situation on the ground.

“Getting the oxygen concentrators out there into the hands (of needy people) through the Indian Red Cross was the best and fastest thing we could do immediately,” he said.

“Almost 400,000 cases on a daily basis for five days rolling is unimaginable.”

Read more:
‘A drop in the bucket’ — Canada pledges $10M to India amid COVID-19 crisis, but is it enough?

In just four short days, organizer Anil Sedha says the fundraiser is already making a difference.

Seven concentrators are already on their way to the country thanks to the fundraiser. It is working via the Indian Red Cross, and equipment is also going directly to hospitals.

“The previous two units that we sent are already in Germany right now. Hopefully, in a day they should be in India,” said Sedha.

“We’ve got five more units that are ready to go — one’s shipping out shortly this morning, and the remaining four, we’re arranging to send out to hospitals directly.

“There’s an overwhelming level of requests coming in from hospitals and clinics, and even individuals who are desperately seeking oxygen help.”

Click to play video: COVID-19 patients in India can’t find hospital beds

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