International

Indian-American NGO raises $4.7 million for COVID-19 relief

An Indian-American non-profit body has raised nearly $4.7 million through social media towards COVID-19 relief efforts in India as the country battles a severe second wave of the pandemic.

“This is a collective effort that can save lives, defeat hunger, assure distressed people, and help India in its decisive fight against COVID-19,” Sewa International USA said.

On Tuesday, Sewa collected a shipment of 2,184 oxygen concentrators to be sent to India.

In less than 100 hours of launching the fund-raising campaign, more than 66,700 Indian-Americans came out to raise over $4.7 million for COVID-19 relief efforts in India, it said.

Over the last few years, Sewa International USA has emerged as the top Indian-American charity organisation in the U.S.

“Right now, our top priority is to quickly acquire oxygen concentrators and ship them to India as it can save lives. We are also providing support to hospitals run by Sewa’s partner organisations to extend their capacity to treat more coronavirus-infected patients,” the organisation said.

Sewa’s volunteers are working on building a digital helpdesk to provide critical information such as ambulance service, hospital bed availability and blood and medicinal supplies to people, it added.

“As the pandemic is causing economic hardships by forcing partial lockdowns, we are planning to distribute over 10,000 essential item kits to families and assist more than 1,000 orphanages and senior care centres,” Sewa said.

“Working closely with our partner organisations, we are also distributing food and medicines to the needy in multiple places,” it added.

American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (APPI), the largest ethnic medical organisation in the country, on Tuesday announced a nationwide campaign for medical oxygen, tele-consult and educational webinars to help combat COVID-19 in India.

“This is the time for immediate AAPI action. As doctors, we all share a visceral urge to do something about it,” said Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalgadda, AAPI president.

“We have located a source manufacturer that supplies oxygen concentrators, each of which can save several lives in India. The cost of each unit is around $500,” he said.

“AAPI, with the collaboration of numerous members, has placed orders for securing and delivering 200 oxygen concentrators directly to hospitals in India with the help of SEWA International, a reliable non-profit organisation,” Mr. Jonnalgadda said.

The U.S. India Chamber of Commerce DFW and the Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston – both from Texas – in partnership with the USICOC Foundation shipped out the first batch of 20 ventilators to the Indian Red Cross Society in Delhi to be disbursed to hospitals and field teams in hard-hit areas, a media statement said.

“It is our moral obligation to help India in every way that we can during this time of need. We will continue to provide support as long as it takes to bring the situation to normal,” said Ashok Mago, founding chairman of the U.S. India Chamber, who helped coordinate many of the necessary funds for the effort.

Another next 30 ventilators are scheduled to ship out in the next few days.

Jagdip Ahluwalia from the Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston, who was coordinating efforts from the Houston area, said members of the organisation are coordinating with hospitals, NGOs, medical schools and government bodies in India to make sure the equipment is getting to trained professionals, who can put it to immediate use.


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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 10:22:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/indian-american-ngo-raises-47-million-for-covid-19-relief/article34429147.ece

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