India (MNN) — The nation with the record for the most daily COVID-19 cases is no longer the United States. It’s India.
Since Thursday, India has reported more than 330,000 new cases every day. As of yesterday, the nation had over 17 million infected.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it a “storm” that “has shaken the nation.”
Erik Morsehead with Mission India explains, “They’ve had a double mutant strain…that they think is part of the reason. And there’s been plenty of festivals as this is a huge season for that in the nation of India. So when you muster those two things together…along with hygiene and healthcare and having access to those things, it just took off.”
This second coronavirus wave is devastating India’s healthcare system.
“Hospitals are critically low on oxygen…. On top of that, major cities are seeing hospitals putting up to two people per bed as they deal with COVID. And a lot of hospitals are now turning away patients,” Morsehead says.
“We’ve heard reports of partners driving hours. One partner drove 20 hours to take a loved one to a hospital because they had an open bed. So it is just dire.”
The city of Bengaluru — Karnataka state’s capital and a technology hub — is responding to the surge with stricter lockdowns. Delhi was already in lockdown earlier last week. And other cities are following suit.
Morsehead says these lockdowns mean more economic hardship for Indian families. “A lot of Indians are day laborers. So that means whatever you earn that day, that’s what you live off. That’s what you bring home for food for your family. And with…lockdowns, that means they can’t necessarily earn any money (or the same amount of money they used to), which now starts to lend itself to a humanitarian and starvation crisis potentially.”
Last year, Mission India worked with local believers to distribute Relief Kits to over 100,000 Indian families in need.
With this second wave of cases, Mission India’s partners are, once again, distributing emergency Relief Kits. Each one has enough food and hygiene items for a family of four for four weeks.
Morsehead says, “Our partners are being the hands and feet of Jesus in the most immediate and urgent way right now as they distribute Relief Kits. These individuals that they’re distributing to, they’ve lost all hope. They think they have nothing left. And in a lot of cases, they have nothing left. They’re looking for something to fill that loss.
“So as we distribute these Relief Kits, all of a sudden, not only are you filling this tangible [need], but then we get to share why we’re doing it. We’re doing it because Jesus has called us to be these types of individuals where we give hope, we give grace, we give life. We’ve had so many countless stories of families breaking down and crying.”
Mission India’s other programs are still ongoing where possible — like their Adult Literacy Classes and Children’s Bible Clubs. As families get Relief Kits, many are joining these other programs and learning more about Jesus’s love for them.
“Pray for our partners as they go out and distribute Relief Kits where possible,” Morsehead asks. “Pray for those partners that are in communities that are just broken and looking for hope. May they be emboldened to share about the ultimate hope that we know in Jesus.”
If you want to sponsor a Relief Kit with Mission India for just $40, click here to give!
Header photo courtesy of Govind Krishnan via Unsplash.