As India grapples with a deadly second wave of coronavirus, Oxfam teams are on the ground saving lives with vital medical supplies and food rations.
At the time of publication, more than 3 million active cases of COVID-19 are reported across India, and the rate of new infections is soaring. As hospitals struggle to cope, the death toll of 222,000 is expected to keep rising.
Oxfam teams are responding to the crisis, distributing emergency supplies across the nation’s five worst-affected states: Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.
Oxfam India Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Behar says, “We are living inside a humanitarian disaster now that is everywhere, in our cities and in our villages — everywhere.”
“And not one of us is safe, until everyone is safe.”
People are literally dying on the streets, or in car parks, or in their homes.
“The entire health system is collapsing — it’s crying for more supplies, for more oxygen.”
Given the scale of the emergency, Oxfam India is providing medical equipment and accessories to public hospitals, wherever there is need. Protective equipment — including masks, sanitiser, PPE kits and goggles — are already being delivered in three districts. A further 500 PPE kits will be distributed to medical staff across the five states.
Oxfam teams are procuring vital hospital equipment for distribution, including oxygen cylinders, digital thermometers, beds, nozzle masks and oxygen for meters, as well as safety equipment for frontline workers.
Before this second wave, the pandemic had already deeply impacted the lives and livelihoods of India’s most marginalised communities. Migrant workers and women working in informal sectors, such as domestic care, are among the hardest hit. Oxfam teams are mobilising to distribute 900 dry ration kits and safety kits to vulnerable individuals in three states.