The Prince of Wales has said he is “deeply saddened by the tragic images” in India as 14 of the UK’s leading aid charities are to send urgent humanitarian assistance to the country.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which brings together a number of UK organisations, has extended its Coronavirus appeal to include the country and will assist in efforts to slow the spread of the virus and provide further help to the most vulnerable households.
Organisations, including the Indian Red Cross, ActionAid, Oxfam India and Save the Children, will help support the country’s health system by providing PPE, disinfection kits, medical supplies and ambulances, and setting up isolation facilities.
DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: “DEC member charities have a long history of working with these communities and are supporting overwhelmed health services by providing medical supplies, treatment facilities and logistics assistance.
“With the generous support of the UK public, we can do even more to help the most vulnerable communities as they face a life-or-death situation.”
Member charities will create temporary COVID hospitals and care centres, as well as provide ventilators and oxygen concentrators to the Indian government.
They will also run helplines to tackle misinformation.
In a message to the Indian people, Charles said they were in his “thoughts and prayers”.
He added that the British Asian Trust, which he founded in 2007, has launched an Oxygen For India emergency appeal to raise funds for oxygen concentrators to be sent to hospitals.
He said: “For well over a year the pandemic has had a devastating impact on so many of us around the world.
“This week, I have been deeply saddened by the tragic images we have all seen as COVID-19 takes its horrific toll in India.
“Like many others, I have a great love for India and have enjoyed many wonderful visits to the country.
“Indian aid and ingenuity has been a support to other countries through this immensely difficult time. As India has helped others, so now must we help India.
“With support from the Indian diaspora, the British Asian Trust has launched an emergency appeal for India to channel this desire to do something about this terrible situation and help save lives.
“I would also want those suffering the effects of this pandemic in India to know that they are in my thoughts and prayers. Together, we will win this battle.”
A surge of new infections has left the healthcare system in the world’s second-largest country on the brink of collapse.
In the past week, more than 2,000 people have died every day.
There have been 3,293 deaths reported in the most recent 24-hour period and 362,757 new infections – a global record which takes its cases total to more than 17.9 million.