Covenant World Relief and Development is supporting longtime partners in India and Nepal to help purchase medicine, food, and other necessities as Covid-19 rages through the region. Covenanters can contribute to the effort online and specify disaster relief for India or Nepal.
Both countries are experiencing record numbers of infections and deaths, with many hospitals forced to turn away patients.
“So many people are waiting outside hospitals in ambulance vehicles, on the road, on the platform, and at the gate of the hospital,” said K. Paul Devakumar, founder of India for Christ Ministries (IFCM). “Many have been left to die.”
Medical personnel from IFCM and the Hindustani Covenant Church (HCC) are treating patients in their homes. Sarojini Christine Karunakar, a physician who lives in Bengalaru, a city of 8.5 million people, said medicine shortages and increasing prices are critical. “Unless we step in and help, these medicines are out of reach for poor people.”
Personnel also are working to educate people on proper precautions such as social distancing as well as providing basic personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, which many people cannot afford.
At the request of the Indian government, the HCC is making its churches available as medical centers. Although international promises to provide additional vaccines provides hope, many people with little or no income don’t know how to register to receive them and lack the technology needed to register online.
Hunger is increasingly an issue. The HCC plans to provide dry-ration food kits that will feed families for two weeks to a month.
More than 280 HCC members and eight pastors have died from the virus. The church is trying to fill the open minister positions as quickly as possible. People in local communities often turn to the church first for help.
Conditions are similar in Nepal, where the government has ordered a lockdown until at least May 14. The government today announced it was suspending all national and international flights until that date.
The Nepal Christian Relief Services hopes to provide PPE, sanitizer, and food as well as other items. Many health and social workers do not have proper equipment and put themselves at even greater risk as they provide care.
“In the face of overwhelming need, our partners in India and Nepal testify to their faith and hope in God’s promises,” said Grace Shim, Serve Globally regional coordinator for Asia. “We have much to learn from their sacrificial commitment to be an incarnational presence in their suffering communities.”