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  • 18 May 2021 12:23 PM | Rachappa Bellappa (Administrator)

    The cylinders were put onboard the navy warship sent as part of Operation Samudra Setu 2 to pick medical equipment from South Asian and South-East Asian countries

    Global Schools Foundation (GSF) has dispatched more than 500 oxygen concentrators to India for COVID-19 affected patients, as a timely gesture to help the nation deal with the medical crisis in the country.

    These life-saving equipment are in addition to the first shipment of 200 oxygen cylinders sent on an urgent basis as part of a larger consignment onboard the Indian Navy warship Airavat to aid in transportation of medical oxygen and other supplies.  The cylinders were put onboard the navy warship sent as part of Operation Samudra Setu 2 to pick medical equipment from South Asian and South-East Asian countries.

    Global Schools Foundation reached out to Sewa International - a huge network of social initiatives across India - to tap their deep local resources and get these oxygen concentrators to the small towns and villages deep inside the huge country. Through Sewa International, the concentrators will reach locations where COVID-19 patients are in urgent need of medical help.

    “We are saving lives in India by sending life-saving equipment such as oxygen concentrators and cylinders. They can be used within hospitals or at venues of social organisations or community centres,” said Atul Temurnikar, Chairman, Global Schools Foundation. “It is our duty to ensure we reach this benefit to remotest corner of India and GSF would do whatever it can to assist in Covid-relief measures.”

    He further said that GSF will have constant vigil on the evolving medical landscape to ensure quicker response time when situation arises.

    “The 500 oxygen concentrators is a timely step and an important contribution by GSF towards medical relief of COVID-19 patients in India,” said Shyam Parande, Secretary, Sewa International.

    Source

    https://www.biospectrumindia.com/news/83/18601/global-schools-foundation-dispatches-500-oxygen-concentrators-to-india.html

  • 18 May 2021 12:19 PM | Rachappa Bellappa (Administrator)

    Less than a fortnight after President Joe Biden in his conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged his country's steadfast support for the people of India, America has responded with an unprecedented financial assistance worth nearly USD half a billion.

    Biden spoke at length with Modi last month and conveyed solidarity with India in its fight against the viral disease. He assured the prime minister that the US and India will work closely together in the fight against COVID-19. "Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need," Biden had said in a tweet.

    Reflecting an overwhelming support for a "natural ally", the entire country not only the administration, but also the corporate sector which created a global task force, as well as Americans and Indian-Americans have opened their coffers for India.

    This half a billion dollars includes USD 100 million pledged by the Biden administration, USD 70 million by pharma major Pfizer and 450,000 Remdesivir doses, the governmental purchase price of each of which in the US is USD 390.

    Thousands of oxygen concentrators and plane loads of life saving drugs and health care equipment are flying off the United States for India almost every day.

    Several companies like Boeing and Mastercard have announced financial assistance worth USD 10 million each, Google has pledged USD 18 million, which the Global Task Force that comprises CEOs of top American companies have already pledged USD 30 million worth of life saving equipment.

    Describing it as a “Berlin Life Moment”, Mukesh Aghi of US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF), told PTI he expects the assistance to touch almost USD 1 billion by the end of the month. “It is emotional for the diaspora, almost everyone has someone who has been touched by COVID-19,” he said.

    Nisha Desai Biswal, president of US India Business Council (USIBC) said, “The outpouring of support from the United States over the past two weeks was a spontaneous mass mobilisation of support for the Indian people from across the America government, business community and diaspora community and the American people.” “It is unprecedented, and it reflects both the deep bonds between our two countries and the gratitude that Americans feel for the role India played in supporting the United States when we were experiencing our COVID surge last year,” she said.

    However, given the “speed and severity” that have overwhelmed the capacity of hospitals and local authorities, more assistance will be needed and for a sustained period of timescale of the pandemic, Biswal said.

    People of the country and the Diaspora too have come out in large numbers. Indian-American Vinod Khosla has committed USD 10 million, top corporate leader John T Chambers has promised USD 1 million.

    For the first time in its history, Sewa International has raised USD 15 million; American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) (USD 3.6 million), Indiaspora (USD 2.5) million and Jai Shetty has raised USD 4 million.

    “There has been overwhelming support and offers of assistance from the US Government, private sector, diaspora and the American public at large. In fact, in my interactions in recent days, the US interlocutors across the board ask me, ‘tell us what more we can do for India'”, India's ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu told PTI.

    “They recall with fondness the help India gave. These are reflective of strong partnership and close people to people ties between our both nations. We deeply appreciate these gestures. We will continue to engage with the US in our collective fight against the pandemic,” he said.

    Among other major financial contributions announced include Procter and Gamble (USD 6.7 million); Merck (USD 5 million), Walmart (USD 2 million), Salesforce (USD 2.4 million), and Caterpillar (USD 3.4 million). Companies like Deloittee have announced to 12,000 oxygen concentrators to India.

    While Microsoft is partnering with the US government in providing aid and oxygen, FedEx and UPS have taken up the mantle of taking care of the transportation of life saving health care equipment like oxygen cylinders, ventilators and oxygen concentrators to India.

    On Sunday, Indian-Americans from Tamil Nadu including eminent philanthropist M R Rangaswami, held a “Help Tamil Nadu Breathe” to raise USD 1.5 million in few hours. “This is an incredible outpouring of generosity, which people have come to expect from America. When the world has a crisis, beyond politics, beyond dispute America steps up,” Rangaswami said.

    “It is comforting to see US cargo jets with much needed medical supplies landing at the Delhi airport regularly,” said Karun Rishi, president of the USA-India Chambers of Commerce. Noting that the stakes are very high for the entire world, he said India's success or failure to come out of this once in a century crisis will have a direct impact throughout the world. Echoing Biswal, Rishi said that more needs to be done.

    “The scale of assistance to India needs to increase and speeded up. To make some reasonable impact to tide over this crisis, India may need between USD 25-USD 50 billion in assistance in the form of vaccines, technology transfer, increasing vaccines and therapeutics manufacturing capacity, medical equipment and public health measures,” he said. PTI

    Source

    https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/outpouring-of-support-from-us-for-india-covid-19-help-touches-half-a-billion-usd-250728

  • 18 May 2021 12:17 PM | Rachappa Bellappa (Administrator)

    The UPS Foundation announced a $1 million commitment to fight the COVID-19 surge in India. The combination of emergency funding, in-kind transportation movements and technical expertise is intended to provide urgent relief, as well as strategic support.

    “The UPS Foundation is committed to improving the well-being of communities impacted by COVID-19 and we want to help alleviate the suffering in India by leveraging our partnerships, our resources and our logistics expertise,” UPS Foundation President Nikki Clifton said in a statement.

    UPS says it is working with a wide variety of strategic partners, including UNICEF, CARE, The Salvation Army, The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, MAP, Medshare, Rotary Club, the U.S. Chamber Foundation and others to mobilize critical medical supplies including oxygen concentrators, ventilators, nebulizers, respiratory supplies, personal protective equipment, COVID-19 test kits and antiviral medications to India.

    The UPS Foundation also is providing emergency funding to The Salvation Army and CARE. CARE is supporting the health system of the state of Bihar in India, including activation of two temporary COVID-19 care centers with five intensive care centers to follow. In addition, The Salvation Army dollars will fund oxygen concentration facilities in hospitals to increase their capacity to treat the most serious cases. Shipments began arriving in India May 3 and will continue for the foreseeable future.

    As COVID-19 spreads in India, UPS employees, including Jackson Carter, director of international airfreight at UPS Global Freight Forwarding, say they want to help. Carter is part of a team coordinating shipments of supplies across India.

    “We use the phrase ‘delivering what matters,’ ” Carter said. “If they don’t have these supplies, this virus is going to keep spreading. Every pallet we move is another way to fight this pandemic.”

    The UPS Global Freight Forwarding team, in coordination with The UPS Foundation, has moved 5,000-plus oxygen concentrators to various locations across India with Sewa International and UNICEF.

    UPS Global Freight Forwarding has also moved pallets of respirator equipment destined for hospitals, remote villages north of Mumbai and areas in the state of Gujarat along India’s western coast. “Our hearts go out to the people of India during these tough times,” UPS Global Freight Forwarding President Romaine Sequin said. “We’ll always be ready to lend a helping hand.”

    Source

    https://www.ttnews.com/articles/ups-foundation-commits-spending-1-million-fight-covid-19-india

  • 18 May 2021 12:13 PM | Rachappa Bellappa (Administrator)

    The equipment shipped to India from New York on May 7 included 260 oxygen concentrators, 1,000 oximeters, and nine Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure machines.

    Non-profit organization Sewa International said that it has spent over $6 million to procure lifesaving equipment in the last two weeks as part of its 'Help India Defeat COVID-19' campaign.

    The equipment shipped to India from New York on May 7 included 260 oxygen concentrators, 1,000 oximeters, and nine Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure machines, it said in a statement.

    MedShare, a non-profit organization that sources and delivers surplus medical supplies and equipment to communities in need, donated the concentrators. The United Parcel Service Foundation partnered with Sewa International to ship them to New Delhi by air for free.

    Sewa has so far raised $16 million for the initiative to supply aid material to India. It raised $7.7 million from over 104,000 donors from its Facebook campaign and $4.2 million through its website.

    So far, the organization has spent over $3.5 million to order 7,482 oxygen concentrators and procured 5,118 of them from various vendors in the US and elsewhere, it said.

    Of these, Sewa has shipped 2,844 oxygen concentrators and 2,084 of them have reached India. They are being distributed to government hospitals and COVID-19 care centers and hospitals run by Sewa's partner organisations.

    It is planning to ship more than 6,000 additional oxygen concentrators to India in the next two weeks.

    Sewa has spent over $6 million to procure lifesaving equipment in the last two weeks as part of its Help India Defeat COVID-19 campaign, it said.

    "Shipping large quantities of medical equipment to another country from the US has a lot of logistical challenges. We are optimising our shipments so that they reach India fast," Sewa's President Arun Kankani said.

    Sewa has established a control room in Atlanta and it is managed by 10 volunteers. They are constantly researching the availability of medical equipment, vendor credentials, price, and other details to purchase them or find donors who can donate them, he said.

    We have received phenomenal support from across the US for our Help India Defeat COVID-19 Campaign. Many corporates, hospitals, and community organisations are calling us to offer help. Sewa volunteers are working hard to connect the dots. We thank all those who have given help and continue to offer support to Sewa in this time of crisis, Kankani said.

    The equipment has gone to Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh, according to Sewa's Vice President for Disaster Recovery Swadesh Katoch.

    It's very important to save every life and I am confident that the equipment we have sent to India will ease the shortage of emergency equipment and help COVID-19 patients recover and enable families to protect their loved ones, Katoch said.

    Sewa started its campaign to aid India on April 23, 2021, when it saw an alarming rise in the daily number of new COVID-19 cases and fatalities.

    Describing itself as a Hindu faith-based charitable non-profit, Sewa works in the areas of disaster recovery, education and development, and serves people regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, it added.

    India has been severely affected by the unprecedented second wave of the coronavirus and hospitals in several states are reeling under the shortage of health workers, vaccines, oxygen, drugs, and beds.

    After recording over four lakh fresh cases for four consecutive days, India witnessed a single-day rise of 3,66,161 COVID-19 cases on Monday, which pushed its tally to 2,26,62,575, according to the health ministry.

    The death toll due to the viral disease climbed to 2,46,116 with 3,754 more people succumbing to it, the ministry's data showed.

    Source

    https://yourstory.com/socialstory/2021/05/covid-19-sewa-lifesaving-equipment-india/amp?utm_source=hootsuite&utm_medium=&utm_term=&utm_content=&utm_campaign=

  • 18 May 2021 10:08 AM | Rachappa Bellappa (Administrator)

    Sewa International Sends Over $6 Million Worth of Medical Equipment to India

    India Post News Service

    Houston, TX: Sewa International has spent more than six million dollars in the last two weeks to procure lifesaving equipment such as oxygen concentrators, ventilators, BiPap, and CPAP machines as part of its ‘Help India Defeat COVID-19’ Campaign.

    Sewa shipped 260 Inogen oxygen concentrators, 1,000 oximeters, and nineBiPap machines from New York on Friday, May 7. UPS Foundation partnered with Sewa International to ship them to New Delhi by air for free. MedShare, a non-profit organization that sources and delivers surplus medical supplies and equipment to communities in need, donated the concentrators.

    So far, Sewa has spent over $3.5 million to order 7,482 oxygen concentrators and procured 5,118 of them from various vendors in the US and elsewhere.  Sewa has shipped 2,844 of them and 2,084 of them have reached India. They are being distributed to government hospitals and COVID-19 care centers and hospitals run by Sewa’s partner organizations.

    Sewa is planning to shipover6,000 additional oxygen concentrators to India in the next two weeks. “Shipping large quantities of medical equipment to another country from the US has a lot of logistical challenges. We are optimizing our shipments so that they reach India fast,” Sewa’s President Arun Kankani said.

    “Sewa has established a control room in Atlanta, and it is managed by ten Sewa volunteers. They are constantly researching the availability of medical equipment, vendor credentials, price, and other details to purchase them or find donors who can donate them to us,”Kankani said.

    “We have received phenomenal support from across the US for our ‘Help India Defeat COVID-19 campaign’. Many corporates, hospitals, and community organizations are calling us to offer help. Sewa volunteers are working hard to connect the dots. We thank all those who have given help and continue to offer support to Sewain this time of crisis,” Arun Kankani said.

    Help Has Reached 17 States

    “Oxygen concentrators distributed by Sewa have reached 17 states in India so far — Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh,” Sewa’s Vice President for Disaster Recovery Swadesh Katoch said.“It’s very important to save every life and I am confident that the equipment we have sent to India will ease the shortage of emergency equipment and help COVID-19 patients recover and enable families to protect their loved ones,” he said.  

    Sewa started its campaign to aid India on April 23 amid an alarming rise in the daily number of new COVID-19 cases and fatalities. Sewa has raised $16 million for this initiative so far including $7.7 million from over 104,000 donors from its Facebook campaign and $4.2 million through its website http://www.sewausa.org.

    About Sewa International

    Sewa International (www.sewausa.org) is a 501 (c)(3) Hindu faith-based charitable nonprofit that works in the areas of disaster recovery, education, and development. Sewa has 43 Chapters across the USA and serves regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin.

    Source

    https://www.indiapost.com/sewa-international-sends-over-6-million-worth-of-medical-equipment-to-india/

  • 18 May 2021 10:06 AM | Rachappa Bellappa (Administrator)

    CHICAGO: At a Press Conference at Rainbow Push Coalition Headquarters in Chicago convened by its founder Rev Jesse Jacksonappealed to the World to Assist India in her fight against the Corona pandemic.

    Dr. Bharat Barai, Oncologist& Chairman,US India Friendship Council, Chicago asked Rev Jackson to speak to President Biden to immediately release the 60 million vaccine doses stockpiled at Baltimore to India

    Rev Jesse Jackson speaking at the Press Conference said he would speak to President Biden to immediately release the 60 million vaccines of Astra Zeneca doses stockpiled in Baltimore.

    Further Rev Jackson said he would personally speak to the Health care Industry to donate Oxygen Concentrators and Cylinders to India and follow up with the pharmaceutical giants to ensure therapeutic supplies to India. He assured that he would personally monitor these relief efforts from USA along with American Association of Multi Ethnic Physicians, USA and their associated organizations.

    Dr. Vijay Prabhakar, Public Health Administrator & Chairman American Association of Multi-Ethnic Physicians listed the Chicago based organizations that are helping India including Sewa International, USA having sent $8 million aid to India, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Chicago sending over$1 million worth of supplies, FIA Chicago among others.

    Dr Sreenivas Reddy, an Interventional Radiologist & Trustee, Chicago Medical Society emphasized the urgent need for vaccine supplies to India along with donations of Oxygen Concentrators, Oxygen Cylinders, &Ventilators /BIPAP

    Dr Ms Santosh Kumar, Executive Director, Metropolitan Asian Family Services said pointed out that Indian badly is in need of antiviral meds Remdisivir and Tocilizumab .

    Neal Patel, Chairman, Indian American Business Coalition, USA appealed to all to send in their in kind and cash contributions to Indian Red Cross Society, New Delhi (https://www.Indianredcross.org/ircs/northzone) Rev Jackson applauded the dynamic Community leader Dr Vijay Prabhakar for all his efforts during this pandemic here in USA and in India.

    Dr Suresh Reddy, President, American Association of Multi Ethnic Physicians Inc., USA appealed to Rev Jackson to request President Biden to invoke the Federal Good Samaritan Act to provide immunity from malpractice for U.S. Physicians treating Covid Patients anywhere in the world. Dr Reddy said that will greatly help the American physician community to fight the Covid pandemic globally.

    Dr Zenobia Sowell, Dentist & Women’s Chair of Congressman Danny Davis’s Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force said it is everyone’s duty to help India flatten the Covid 19 surge as we live in a world that cannot be separated by borders.

    Ravi Baichwal of ABC TV Channel 7 covering the press meet got it aired on May 5 Wednesday 5 pm news. Bishop Travis Grant, National Field Director for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition assured the Indian American Community that they will follow through on all their requests and will continue to work with the Community leaders to ensure swift aid to India.

    James Gomez, Director of International Affairs of Rainbow Push Coalition, Washington DC assured that they would work closely with the Chicago Indian American Community and American Association of Multi Ethnic Physicians, USA to expedite much needed aid to India.

    Dr Vijay Prabhakar thanked the Rev Jesse Jackson, Founder of Rainbow PUSH Coalition for assisting India at this time

    Source

    https://www.indiapost.com/rev-jackson-urges-pres-biden-to-release-corona-vaccine-doses-to-india/

  • 18 May 2021 10:04 AM | Rachappa Bellappa (Administrator)

    As COVID-19 cases in India soared over the last week – with 359,000 new cases recorded in 24 hours on Tuesday – St. Thomas businessman Pash Daswani wanted to do something to help the people.

    “I didn’t know where to start,” he said, adding the effort had to be targeted because “India is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.”

    Thanks to a couple of phone calls, one incoming from an India friend on St. John, the other outgoing to the India Consulate in Atlanta, a plan began to gel. Daswani is the president of the V.I. India Association – a 501(c)3 – and the organization is in a unique position to receive tax-deductible donations that will be sent to another 501(c)3 that has already mobilized to purchase oxygen concentrators that can be used by an entire family.

    Daswani’s friend Akhil Deshwal lost a relative to COVID in the latest devastating surge. She was 50 years old and left four young children behind, Daswani said. Her husband had died just a few months earlier. “It brought the situation close to home,” he said.

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    Daswani tracked down the India Consulate in Atlanta. The consulate quickly recommended an organization that had already mobilized, making the footwork far easier.

    Sewa International, a Hindu faith-based organization, has been given very high marks by both the consulate and a nonprofit set up 19 years ago to review and rate charitable organizations.

    Daswani immediately reached out to Sewa, which was founded in 2003. Sewa’s website states it specializes in disaster relief and rehabilitation. It has a four-star rating as well as a perfect score – top 100 nonprofits – from Charity Navigator.

    With supplies dwindling or non-existent and medical facilities completely overwhelmed by the second wave that hit the country of nearly 1.4 billion people in the last weeks, Daswani saw the oxygen concentrators as a meaningful contribution. Also, Sewa had secured a few deals to get the devices at a good rate and an agreement from United Parcel Service to send a specific number of pallets of the devices to India at no cost. But free delivery is limited. Daswani said he thought there were about 100 pallets still available.

    A man with an oxygen concentrator (Shutterstock image)

    He hopes to raise at least $100,000 as quickly as possible, which will pay for approximately 170 concentrators.

    The India Association, as of Thursday, had already purchased 26 oxygen concentrators to be sent directly to India.

    For now, tax-deductible contributions can be made by check to India Association and mailed to: P.O. Box 1267, St. Thomas, VI 00804.

    Questions may be addressed to Daswani at pash@consultpash.com or 786-393-0221.

    Source

    https://stjohnsource.com/2021/05/12/local-association-steps-up-to-help-relieve-covid-crisis-in-india/


  • 18 May 2021 9:58 AM | Rachappa Bellappa (Administrator)

    sherman

    Crew members load medical oxygen and ventilators onto a cargo plane bound for Delhi, India at Helsinki airport in Finland on May 11, 2021 under an EU aid scheme. The relief efforts of the American India Foundation, an Indian American nonprofit, has touched $25 million. (Sam Kingsley/AFP via Getty Images)

    Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), the Democratic chair of the Congressional India Caucus, on May 12 led the India Caucus leadership and more than 50 of his colleagues in sending a letter to President Biden to urge the administration to bolster the United States’ efforts to assist India as they continue to battle a devastating second wave of COVID-19 infections, a press statement said.

    May 12 marked India’s deadliest day with 4,205 deaths reported, carrying the total number of confirmed deaths to more than 250,000 fatalities. The sharp increase in cases has overwhelmed India’s healthcare system. “We must do our part to quell the virus everywhere it persists,” said the statement.

    In their letter to President Biden, Sherman and his colleagues reflected on the strength of the U.S-India relationship, and relayed to the administration how India remains in need of additional medical equipment, supplies and other vital resources to help India emerge from this crisis.

    According to Sherman and the India Caucus leadership’s previous conversation with India’s Ambassador to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India requires several items, most notably oxygen and oxygen production equipment.

    State Department spokesperson Ned Price, at a briefing May 11, said that Washington is working closely with India to identify continued, emerging needs in the COVID-19 crisis.

    “Taken together, our assistance to combat COVID-19 in India has totaled about $100 million in all,” he said.

    "We understand that the private sector to date has donated an additional $400 million, totaling a half-billion dollars in assistance to India," added Price.

    The American India Foundation has raised $25 million so far, according to a PTI report, adding that it is the highest amount raised by an Indian American. Nishant Pandey, CEO of AIF, said they have so far ordered and have commitments for 5,500 oxygen concentrators, 2,300 hospital beds, 25 oxygen plants, and 30,000 non-electric ventilators.

    Sewa International USA has raised over $17 million so far.

    In related news, Indian American Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA) May 11 joined a Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House, where he said he had the opportunity to speak directly to the vice president about the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in India.

    Regarding the meeting, Bera stated: “I commended Vice President Harris for her leadership in helping mobilize the Indian American diaspora community to deliver assistance to our family and friends in India. I also shared my hope that the U.S. will continue to be an active global leader in helping stop the pandemic in India and across the world.”

    The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, meanwhile, sent letters to 100 U.S. senators, seeking their support to “convince the White House to permit more vaccine raw material to be released immediately for local [in India] vaccine production, as well as increasing all types of assistance.”

    “In the long term,” noted Dr. Sampat Shivangi, AAPI’s Legislative Wing chairman, “vaccination is still the best therapy and hope.” He added, “At present, India is experiencing acute and severe shortages of the Covid-19 vaccines. Astra Zeneca is releasing 60 million vaccines after due FDA approval this month. We urge the U.S. government to release send at least 30 million doses of the vaccine to India.

    Source-

    https://www.indiawest.com/news/global_indian/u-s-congressmen-urged-to-bolster-covid-aid-to-india-aif-relief-reaches-25-million/article_923b3be2-b481-11eb-b371-97a13ef9a76f.html


  • 18 May 2021 9:55 AM | Rachappa Bellappa (Administrator)

    More than 1,000 oxygen concentrators are being shipped to India to help with the pandemic crisis there, thanks to the efforts of the Council of Indian Organizations of Greater Philadelphia.

    The lifesaving devices are among many supplies that people of Indian heritage and others in the Delaware Valley have provided to India in recent weeks.

    Paresh Birla, of Lower Makefield, is council president and, as such, is directing the work to help people in his native land where variants of the coronavirus have emerged in the past two months, causing scores of infections and fatalities.  Medical supplies, particularly oxygen cannisters, have become scarce as the nation of 1.3 billion people grapples with the ongoing pandemic. 

    Paresh Birla of Lower Makefield is president of the Council of Indian Organizations of Greater Philadelphia and is spearheading council efforts to help the people in India.

    Birla said that vaccines manufactured in India had previously been sent to countries in Asia, Africa and South America as well as to United Nations peacekeepers.  According to data from the Indian Ministry for External Affairs, the country has shipped vaccines to 95 other countries as of May 12.  But now India needs the world's help to overcome the devastating new surge in cases there. 

    "There are multiple different efforts," Birla said, as there are 33 organizations within the Greater Philadelphia council representing the different ethnic groups within the 29 states and seven territories in India.

    The organizations are funneling aid to two relief programs, Vibha, a charitable organization that focuses on helping underprivileged children both in India and the United States, and Sewa International, a Hindu faith-based charitable nonprofit. 

    Sewa International so far has raised more than $16 million to help with Indian relief , the charity announced, and the UPS Foundation has partnered with Sewa to ship supplies from New York to New Delhi.

    “We have received phenomenal support from across the U.S. for our ‘Help India Defeat COVID-19 campaign.’ Many corporations, hospitals, and community organizations are calling us to offer help. Sewa volunteers are working hard to connect the dots. We thank all those who have given help and continue to offer support to Sewa in this time of crisis,” Sewa President Arun Kankani said. 

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    Vibha has started a "Save Lives, Save India Campaign" with a goal of $1 million. So far, more than $700,000 has been collected.

    Birla said the local council is also lobbying the White House to make changes in the Vaccine Defense Production Act.  When the pandemic first struck the United States, "everybody wanted to make sure the U.S. had enough vaccine. COVID is under control. Right now there is a plan to ask the White House to make sure the raw materials are available for India to make vaccine," he said, as well as efforts to have surplus vaccines sent to India so people there can get vaccinated.

    Bucks County businessman Jignesh "Jay' Pandya, who plans to bring the headquarters for his Boston Market and Corner Bakery stores to Bensalem, said his firm is working through a program called "I Breathe for India" to purchase oxygen concentrators.

    "We already have been securing and shipping them," he said. "We support them wholeheartedly."

    Divysh Patel, priest at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a Hindu temple in Levittown, said that BAPSCharities.com was assisting with relief efforts as well.  "We do lots of help to COVID in India and over here as well," he said.

    The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin is also providing online consultation services to people in India who have questions about the coronavirus or other medical conditions.

    "American Association of Physician's of Indian Origin (AAPI) and Federation of Indian Physicians Association (FIPA) have been working relentlessly to collect funds and partnering with other organizations," said Vasu Singh, a medical doctor in Lehigh County who served as past president of the AAPI Lehigh chapter. "India is in desperate need of PPE, oxygen concentrators, ventilators, hospital equipment, medicines, vaccines and health care professionals. Many physicians living in the U.S. are volunteering to consult patients via telemedicine."

    Several religious organizations, including Catholic Relief Services,  Indian Muslim Relief & Charities, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Lutheran World Relief  also have websites where people can donate to help the people in India recover from the ongoing COVID crisis there. 

    More:Bucks County forms New Americans Commission to address immigrants' concerns

    Dr. Umar Farooq, of Bensalem, is a physician who chairs an organization called RECAP (Reaching and Empowering Communities Across Pennsylvania) which serves the Southeast Asian community here in the state.

    He also is the board chair of Bucks County New American Advisory Commission that aims to help new immigrants settling in the county. Farooq, who is from Pakistan and an internal medicine specialist with Knights Medical Associates in Bensalem, said his office has coronavirus vaccines that he would like to give it to any new immigrant or other resident who needs to be vaccinated.

    He is offering them 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays at the Knights Medical Associates 3034 Knights Road, Bensalem. The office has a Spanish-speaking staff member. Walk-ins are welcome and the vaccines are free.

    "ID is not required," he said, for people to be vaccinated, so he urged anyone needing a vaccination to contact his office at 215-638-7400.

    Source

    https://www.buckscountycouriertimes.com/story/news/2021/05/15/coronavirus-india-bucks-county-community-sends-aid-homeland/4987106001/


  • 18 May 2021 9:52 AM | Rachappa Bellappa (Administrator)

    HOUSTON, May 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Sewa International has procured 7,482 oxygen concentrators, 20,500 pulse oximeters, 250 ventilators, 256 co-ventilators and other much needed medical equipment and has shipped most of these to India via UPS over the past two weeks. Working with its partners in India, Sewa International has distributed more than 4,000 medicine kits, and 5,000 essential kits. As Indian hospitals and care agencies struggle to meet this dire medical emergency, Sewa volunteers have been working across the country, in small towns and big cities to offer information about hospital bed availability, medical equipment distribution, vaccinations, and testing for COVID-19. Sewa International has already spent more than $7.5 million procuring and shipping equipment, and helping distribute needed medicines, food, and other supplies.

    Infographic highlighting funds raised, spent, and work accomplished by Sewa International in a two-week period ending May 10, 2021

    Infographic highlighting funds raised, spent, and work accomplished by Sewa International in a two-week period ending May 10, 2021

    Oxygen Concentrators upon arrival at Delhi

    Oxygen Concentrators upon arrival at Delhi

    Detailing some of the work done by the Sewa International team in India, Viswanath Koppaka, National Marketing Director for Sewa International said, "Sewa International volunteers facilitated the COVID-19 testing at the Government Hospital in Hiriyur, in the Indian state of Karnataka on Tuesday, May 11. Sewa volunteers went door-to-door to create awareness among people in this small town about the significance of timely testing for COVID-19." He said that "Oxygen concentrators sent from the US has also reached Lucknow, the capital city of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, May 11. Sewa has sent 70 concentrators to the city for immediate use as they will fulfill the urgent needs of various Covid Care Centers across the city. Uttar Pradesh reported 20,435 fresh cases on May 11 and had 2,16,057 active cases. The big challenge right now in India is the sheer number of people testing positive; the lack of medical equipment; and the difficulty for volunteers to work efficiently, quickly, and without hindrance in a country that is essentially under lockdown."

    Donations Pour In
    Sewa International has reached the 105,000-donor mark and raised over $16 million from its 'Help India Defeat COVID-19' Facebook campaign and through their website campaign. As of May 10, Sewa International had procured 7,482 oxygen-concentrators and airlifted 5,482 of them to India. The highlight of the fundraising campaign was the recent $2.5 million pledge made by Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter. "We are happy that CEOs of multinational corporations and ordinary citizens of America are coming to the aid of India in this hour of need, and we are thankful that they have put their trust in us to offer medical aid in India quickly, efficiently, and professionally," said Arun Kankani, President, Sewa International. "We will do our best to help those suffering in India, and we will do as much as we can, quickly, to relieve the pressure that hospitals and care agencies are under," Kankani said, pointing out the challenges in procuring and shipping the needed equipment and getting quick clearance on the ground in India to send the equipment to cities, towns, and villages across the country.

    "There are so many generous donors that we cannot name them all, but to all of them a big thank you," said Kankani, mentioning that among the big donors were the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, which donated $535,000 and Dr. Alok Agrawal, founder of the Global Pragathi (Global Progress), who has donated $500,000.

    Source-

    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/sewa-international-to-distribute-7482-oxygen-concentrators-and-250-ventilators-in-india-jack-dorsey-of-twitter-donates-2-5-million-301291565.html

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