As an Indian living thousands of kilometers away from home, Ashwini Sivaraman says seeing the disastrous COVID-19 situation in India is “seeing the fury of fire from afar and simply being unable to do anything.”
Sivaraman, who hails from Chennai and lives in Toronto, said, “You just feel helpless and you feel guilty because … I personally feel very lucky and lucky to see what is happening there.” is.”
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India is grappling with its darkest chapter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with cases such as capacity-filled hospitals, small and morgue-run medical oxygen supplies, and crematoriums touching 20 million.
As international aid pours into the country in response to the crisis, Indian expatriates in Canada are rallying behind relief efforts.
Sivaraman, inspired by a friend who is helping on the ground Created a comprehensive resource document Listing Indian diaspora and non-resident Indians differently can donate and volunteer.
In addition to various fundraisers and organizations to give money, the document also includes ways in which Indian expatriates can remain involved online, such as through petitions and social media.
“Tweeting or commenting on social media posts of politicians in power in India, urging them to do better,” the document states.
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Sivaraman, who has been actively using Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to get the word out, said he did not respond to immediate requests for contacts and resources for land and help during India’s second wave. Is stressed. During the first peak last year.
“For me, it was very important that the document was inclusive and robust and gave as accurate and up-to-date information as possible,” said the 35-year-old social media manager.
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Sabina Vohra-Miller, a native of New Delhi, lives in the Peel region of Ontario – one of Canada’s largest Indian diaspora.
As a co-founder of the South Asian Health Network, she is on a daily call with a coalition of doctors on the ground to find out what assistance she needs to send her to India.
Others are also trying to help on a personal level.
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In a previous interview with Global News, Toronto resident Zinia Abbas Buchwala said she has tried to pitch for some personal requests for monetary assistance to help patients get the treatment they need within the right timeframe.
“The situation in India is very worrying and there is a lot as far as my family is concerned,” said the 32-year-old man from Mumbai.
“The catastrophic shortage of hospital beds and oxygen tanks is extremely worrying,” Buchwala said.
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Oxygen for india Is a United States-based organization striving to raise approximately $ 1.5 million to provide 3,500 oxygen cylinders and 700 concentrators for free.
Oxygen representative for India Hans Taparia said the main idea is to free up the hospital’s capacity for those who need to provide oxygen at home, who can be hospitalized without it.
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“The money that has been donated can now be deployed and used,” Taparia told Global News from New York.
As of Monday, approximately $ 614,000 had been donated.
“It is money that has to be deployed immediately because we are talking about hundreds of thousands of people who may lose their lives in the next several weeks,” Taparia said.
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The Canadian government has pledged $ 10 million in humanitarian aid to the Canadian Red Cross to support the Indian Red Cross Society’s response in India. But experts warn that this is not enough.
Associate Professor of Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, Drs. Srinivas Murthy believes that Canada should send more funds to charities like the Indian Red Cross, as it also helps feed poor families who are experiencing the worst of the crisis. .
“Money is the main thing right now. In the short term, it gives enough food to people, it gives clothes to children, and helps society to get through it.
In an email to Global News on Sunday, a Health Canada spokesperson said the Canadian government had “identified medical devices that could be donated from ventilators such as emergency stockpiles.”
It was not immediately clear which, or when, the supplies would be sent.
Sivaraman said that beyond monetary help, finding ways to bridge resource gaps – for example, by sharing viable and verified clues with family and friends – goes a long way in reducing India’s COVID-19 suffering Can do.
“Funds are needed right now, but if the migrant community has the ability and means to stay involved and participate more and look at other ways to get involved, we should do so, because unfortunately it does not look like it will end soon Used to be.”
– Global News’ with files by Redmond Shannon, Hannah Jackson and Katie Dangerfield.
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