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The Orlando organization aims to alleviate the “dire” COVID crisis in India

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ORLANDO, Fla. – They say they are sending money to India because their heart tells them.

What you need to know

  • The Indian American Business Association & Chamber is raising over $ 40,000 for aid to India
  • The money will help Indian hospitals purchase critical COVID-19 products like oxygen
  • The Orlando Group says many of the more than 600 members have friends or relatives in India

They say they do this because they have friends and family there.

In particular, members of the Orlando-based Indian American Business Association and Chamber say they give because they see millions of people suffer.

“The situation is very bad,” said Prashant Patel, the organization’s president.

Patel is referring to the COVID-19 crisis in India, which has seen more than 25 million cases and nearly 280,000 deaths since the coronavirus pandemic began. Most notably, the country has seen a surge in recent months, with a highly contagious new strain, variant B.1.617, reportedly killing more than 4,000 people a day.

According to Patel, news of increased cases and deaths has inspired the Indian American Business Association and Chamber to raise funds for emergency relief for Indian hospitals and people.

The organization claims it has raised more than $ 40,000 with the help of other people and organizations, which has helped hospitals in India purchase key COVID-19 consumables such as oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders and peak flow meters.

The crisis has reportedly overwhelmed hospitals who have run out of oxygen and led patient relatives to go from hospital to hospital in search of oxygen concentrators and bottles.

“We see videos and pictures and hear stories from friends, colleagues and relatives in India,” said Patel. “It’s so driving. It’s so emotional. It’s a humanitarian crisis. “

For millions in India, the crisis worsened on Monday when tropical cyclone Tauktae invaded Gujarat state, where Patel’s parents lived.

The storm was reportedly the strongest to ever hit the west coast of India. Hundreds of COVID-19 patients have been forced to evacuate and the government’s response to the pandemic has been hampered.

“This is disastrous timing for India,” said Yogesh Bharucha, vice president of the trade association and chamber. “India has a lot to do … so we must all unite and do our part.”

The organization says many of its 600+ members have friends and relatives in India, including some who have contracted COVID-19.

Bharucha said his mother-in-law (71) and a sister-in-law (48) were recently infected with the virus while on a trip to India and were hospitalized for three weeks.

He said both relatives had received sufficient medical supplies, but for many that was hardly the case.

The Orlando organization gets its help to India through contacts with healthcare workers in hospitals across the subcontinent.

In addition to oxygen devices, masks, hand sanitisers and other preventive materials are also supplied.

The organization also says it has provided food to families who are unable to leave their homes due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Organization members say they get feedback from people they’ve helped, but “we’re not looking for rewards,” Bharucha said. “It is a time of need. You’re not looking for a medal or anything. We don’t do that here. “

Bharucha said he and Patel formed the Indian American Business Association and Chamber as a networking platform in central Florida four years ago to help where they could. The organization gave away masks in Orange County at the start of the pandemic when they were in short supply, he said.

Instead of donating through the organization, some association members have used other means to help people in India. International aid groups include Care, Oxfam and Doctors Without Borders.

Here you can contact the Indian American Business Association and Chamber.

“We’re not the only ones,” said Patel, the association’s president. “You can definitely contact us and we will guide you, but you don’t have to give us any money directly.

“But help.”

“All that you can give,” added Bharucha, “give from the heart.”

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Janet Smith