January 13, 2022
By Mike Ziemerink
Being one of the most populous countries in the world, India has been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. India has faced numerous struggles including a massive shortage of oxygen tanks and hospital beds that forced patients into the streets and roadways near hospitals. As the pandemic progressed and new variants, including the Delta and Omicron variant, took hold, the death toll and hospital bed shortage continued to deepen. During the most intense waves of the virus, India was reporting more than 4,000 COVID related deaths each day, however locals warn those were merely the official numbers, and that thousands of unreported deaths were occurring.
Since vaccines have become available, India has also struggled with the logistics of procuring and distributing vaccines as well as vaccine hesitancy seen in many other countries. The pandemic has not only affected the health of the country, many Indians have also seen their livelihoods and food security affected because of stay-at-home orders, and other economic effects of the pandemic.
With the gravity of the situation clear, PWRDF leapt into action partnering with CASA (Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action) to respond to the situation. PWRDF donors gave more than $44,000 to the COVID-19 response in India. CASA was able to deliver critical supports including distribution of dry rations, cooked food, hygiene kits and unconditional cash transfers. In order to slow the spread of the virus, the hygiene kits contained sanitizer, soap, face masks, Dettol, towel, toothpaste and sanitary pads. In total, the response from Casa reached more than 40,000 people across more than 48 districts.
Sajani Devi is a 25-year-old resident of Birpur village in Madhubani District of Bihar State in India. Sajani received support from CASA after her husband, a day laborer, lost his job during the pandemic. Thanks to CASA, and with the support of PWRDF, Sajani is now able to care for her family and protect them from COVID-19.
The work to battle the COVID-19 pandemic in India continues. CASA is still responding to the most vulnerable and marginalized communities in India as the pandemic continues into its third year, but thanks to PWRDF and its supporters, the burden for some is a little less.