On Wednesday, India topped a milestone of 200,000 people who have died from COVID-19, along with an uptick of new infections across its cities and rural areas.
India, the second-most populous country in the world after China, with a population of nearly 1.4 billion people, also reported a record 362,757 new infections on Wednesday.
According to the country's health ministry, it reported a single-day record of 3,293 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising India's death toll to 201,187, the Associated Press reports.
The grim milestone makes India the fourth country to cross 200,000 deaths after the United States, Brazil and Mexico.
New Delhi, the nation's capital, remains under lockdown, along with the southern states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. Regarding vaccinations, Indians 18 and older will be eligible for a vaccine on Saturday. At the present time, India's vaccination program seems to be struggling as only around 10 percent of the country's population has received a single dose of the vaccine, and just over 1.5 percent have been able to receive both shots.
Several Christian organizations have since responded to the COVID crisis in India as its hospitals are full and running out of supplies of drugs and oxygen.
According to its website, Evangelical humanitarian aid organization Samaritan's Purse is working with partners on the ground to "bring practical relief, encouragement, and hope to people who are suffering."
In one hard-hit area, the organization has been able to support a local hospital by "providing urgently needed medical supplies to bolster their capacity."
Samaritan's Purse is also reportedly working with local partners to provide food to more than 1,000 families in need.
Christian humanitarian aid organization World Vision is also providing aid in the hard-hit nation. According to a press release by the organization, the India branch of World Vision is preparing to distribute approximately $2.7 million NZD for beds and oxygen concentrators in 93 hospitals.
"This grim situation is escalating rapidly, and it will take a mammoth global effort to help the people of India get COVID-19 back under control," says Franklin Jones, the head of World Vision India's Humanitarian Emergency Affairs department.
"WV India is networking with the Government to ensure vulnerable communities can access the healthcare they so desperately need," he continued. "We're working hard in communities to ensure that people have safe, fast and equitable access to the vaccine, working closely with district administrations to support the Government's efforts to reach more people."
Assistance aside, India World Vision had also been struggling with its own challenges as 100 of its staff members were infected with the virus. Two have died.
According to the charity Gospel For Asia, much of the people in India are more concerned about starvation than COVID-19.
The charity's UK Director John-Paul Dao told Premier Christian News that people in most deprived areas are depending on churches for their survival. For example, one church is providing 500 meals every day while the charity's community centers have turned into community kitchens.
Dao noted that one man told them he had not eaten in eight days as he traveled 800km on his scooter to feed his family.
"They're much more concerned with starvation than coronavirus," he explained. "We've estimated that at certain major city train stations, every day about between 20 and 25 children will just show and they will have been put on a train by their parents who could not afford to feed them, along with their, say, five or six siblings. And they did that in the hope that when they got to the major city, they'd be able to survive either by begging or just being welcomed in by a family. Often, they will join gangs, or worse things will happen."
Regardless of the present crisis, Dao asserted that people were finding hope "in a God who was steady the same yesterday, today and forever. And we are just happy that we get to be a part of bringing that hope to those who are in the vicinity – those that we can get to."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Anindito Mukherjee/Stringer
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.