“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge the capacities of national and global health systems, as it has for more than a year, and to call upon providers of humanitarian assistance, such as United Methodist Committee on Relief, to be steadfast in compassionate response,” said Roland Fernandes, top executive of UMCOR and its parent agency, the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
India is suffering more than 3,000 COVID-19 deaths per day and recording more than 300,000 new cases every 24 hours, according to The Washington Post. Relaxed restrictions and new, more virulent strains of the coronavirus have contributed to the crisis. There are shortages of ventilators, hospital beds, oxygen, medicine and other supplies.
More than 153 million COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide, with more than 3.2 million deaths to date, according to CNN. India is second only to the U.S., with more than 20 million cases and 222,000 deaths. Five states in India — Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh — account for more than half the deaths there.
“While we cannot set up vaccination stations, UMCOR and Global Ministries are responding in other ways such as helping partner health agencies in India to acquire emergency equipment and to deal with the expanding health threats of the virus as well as with humanitarian assistance,” Fernandes said.
How to Help Through the United Methodist Committee on Relief
“We must … take account of changing patterns of need as these are affected by governmental programs of vaccination and surges of the disease,” Fernandes said. “To date, only governments have access to the several vaccines, and distribution systems vary. Some countries such as Brazil and India are experiencing outbreaks that require increased hospital and medical care for those infected.”
Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action, one of the largest faith-based humanitarian organizations in India, represents all of the Protestant denominations there, including the Methodist Church, an affiliated autonomous church of The United Methodist Church. Its goal is to provide COVID-19 relief to 4,000 households and 20,000 individuals, said UMCOR officials.
Plans call for CASA to contribute information campaigns, medical supplies including oxygen, hygiene support and cash to help meet basic needs.
Christian Medical College is getting a solidarity grant from UMCOR to expand its ability to help up to 1,500 COVID-19 patients.
“We expect to be battling COVID with health care and humanitarian relief for some time to come,” said Mary Lou Greenwood Boice, director of communications at Global Ministries. “The dollar amount of COVID-19 support to India and any other places experiencing surges and hot spots will be determined as we work with partners on the ground.”
So far, Global Ministries has approved 270 grants worth about $2.8 million to 52 countries worldwide to fight the coronavirus.
Patterson is a UM News reporter in Nashville, Tennessee. Contact him at 615-742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Digests.