India is emerging from a second wave of COVID-19 infections that sent case numbers skyrocketing to more than 29.9 million, by far the highest in the Asia Pacific region and the second highest globally behind the United States.

The second COVID-19 wave brought the country’s healthcare system to its knees, especially considering the limited health resources in rural parts of the country where some 600 million Indians live. In June, the official death toll surpassed 388,100, but the true count is estimated to be far higher.

Global donations are saving lives

An outpouring of global support has given lifesaving resources to Indian Red Cross as it continues to work closely with authorities to provide care and relief to the most vulnerable. The urgent priority for Indian Red Cross is to support people who are still suffering from the terrifying surge and to prepare for future waves while vaccination continues.

People across the entire country are experiencing the devastating impacts of the pandemic and Red Cross is working in all areas to reach those in need. Indian Red Cross is providing ambulance services, first aid, medical care and oxygen to some of the sickest people.

A COVID-19 patient, Shamsher Singh, 55, uses an oxygen concentrator at a Red Cross clinic.

Health professionals are working around the clock in community-based clinics, dispensaries and hospitals run by the Indian Red Cross to ensure that the most disadvantaged communities have access to healthcare. So far, Indian Red Cross has received 1,125 oxygen concentrators through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to help prepare for future waves.

Vulnerable communities receive relief supplies

Relief is reaching many of those who are most at risk, including migrant workers, the elderly, homeless people, single women, mothers, people with a disability and those affected by recent cyclones. Indian Red Cross has provided them with emergency shelter, food, access to vaccines, medical care and other essential items. Local teams on the ground are also providing logistics support to quarantine facilities, supporting vaccination drives, and assisting with COVID-19 clinics and testing.

Red Cross volunteers distribute soap, fruit juice, masks and ration kits to single mothers affected by the pandemic.

While this important work to reach the most at-risk continues, Indian Red Cross’ extensive network of trained volunteers is also coordinating community outreach – including prevention awareness activities, hygiene promotion and countering misinformation. Providing communities with access to accurate and practical information will help keep them safe and, ultimately, will save lives.

Thanks to New Zealanders’ generous donations

Many New Zealanders have provided much-needed support to India’s COVID-19 response during this difficult time. Special thanks to the businesses who made corporate donations or organised fundraisers to support this work including Spark NZ, Countdown, NZ Post, ASB, 2degrees and Vector.  To all the businesses, organisations and individuals that have donated towards India’s COVID-19 response, thank you for helping save lives and reducing suffering. Every donation that New Zealand Red Cross has received towards India’s COVID-19 response has been passed on to Indian Red Cross to directly support the pandemic response efforts.

You can still donate towards Red Cross’ global COVID-19 emergency response and support of communities across the globe.