Washington D.C., May 5, 2021 / 16:00 pm
Catholic aid groups are mobilizing relief efforts in India, as the country is gripped by a worsening outbreak of the coronavirus.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Caritas India are on the ground in the subcontinent, and are administering aid.
“In India and elsewhere, CRS and our Church partners are providing life-saving support to communities impacted by COVID-19,” Nikki Gamer, media relations manager for CRS, told CNA on Wednesday.
Gamer said that CRS has reached more than 10 million people through on-the-ground efforts to prevent spread of the virus, support health responders, and “assist extremely vulnerable families to manage the compounded impacts of the pandemic on their lives.”
The Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), a papal agency that provides humanitarian and pastoral support for the Middle East, northeast Africa, India, and Eastern Europe, announced a new emergency campaign for India on Tuesday. The campaign will “help the local churches respond to the escalating COVID-19 crisis,” the agency said.
“We cannot watch this catastrophe unfold and not share the heartbreak and feel the need to help,” the agency’s president Msgr. Peter Vaccari stated in a press release on Tuesday.
The death toll from the pandemic in India is estimated to have exceeded 225,000. The country is averaging about 3,500 deaths per day from COVID-19, and hospitals are running low on bed and vital supplies. Experts believe the number of deaths to be undercounted, the AP has reported.
“We are alarmed by the spike in COVID-19 cases in India, Nepal and other hotspots. As our Asia regional director said last week, ‘Even as an increasingly vaccinated America looks forward to a light at the end of the COVID tunnel, a number of countries in Asia are hitting their darkest periods,’” Gamer said.