Ministries bringing hope & relief to India as COVID spikes

Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Michael F. Haverluck (

Samaritan's Purse disaster relief volunteers

As the COVID-19 death toll in India tops 200,000, Christian aid organizations are launching relief efforts there.

The Associated Press reported last week that India hit a single-day record of 3,293 deaths from COVID-19, upping total deaths to 201,187 in the world's second-most populous nation of 1.4 billion people – second only to China. Another record in India was recorded the same day as that report, when 362,757 COVID infections were registered, according to, which also noted that only the United States, Brazil and Mexico surpass India in COVID deaths.

'Horrible' weeks ahead as India's virus catastrophe worsens

NEW DELHI (AP) (May 4, 2021) — A top expert is warning that the coming weeks in India will be “horrible,” as COVID-19 infections and deaths mount with alarming speed and there is no end in sight to the crisis.

The country of nearly 1.4 billion has witnessed scenes of people dying outside overwhelmed hospitals and funeral pyres lighting up the night sky. India’s official count of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million, nearly doubling in the past three months, while deaths officially exceed 220,000.

But the true figures are believed to be far higher, the undercount an apparent symptom of the troubles in the health care system.

God's crew to the rescue …

With hospitals at capacity and running out of drugs and oxygen, and while only 10% of Indians have received the first shot of the COVID vaccine – only 1.5% have received the second shot – several Christian aid organizations are responding to the call for help.

Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse – a Christian humanitarian aid organization based in North Carolina – is working with locals to supply food for more than 1,000 needy families.

"[We are working with partners on the ground to] bring practical relief, encouragement and hope to people who are suffering," Samaritan's Purse reported. "In a hard-hit area, [we supported a local hospital by] providing urgently needed medical supplies to bolster their capacity."

In addition, World Vision (WV) announced that it is about to distribute some $2.7 million (NZD) to 93 hospitals in India for beds and oxygen concentrators, as the head of World Vision India's Humanitarian Emergency Affairs, Franklin Jones, said his evangelical relief group is quickly responding to the dire need.

"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," Jones stated. "WV India is networking with the government to ensure vulnerable communities can access the healthcare they so desperately need, [and] 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."

The risks are high at WV India, which reported that two of the 100 staff members who contracted COVID-19 have died.


"In one of the major cities known as Bangalore, one out of every two people tested positive [for COVID], and BBC put out reports [that] people are actually dying on the street waiting to get to the hospitals – and the hospitals, many of them don't have oxygen to keep people alive."

"… [B]ut a greater, serious difficulty than all of this is starvation of people without any means to survive, even with the basic essential of simple food for the family and the children – and this is nothing but a crisis."

K.P. Yohannan, founder
GFA World
(in an interview with One News Now)

COVID's collateral damage … hope rushing in

GFA World says starvation is a greater concern for many in India than COVID-19, as some of the most devasted areas in the nation are relying on local churches to survive.

GFA World UK director John-Paul Dao said his group's community centers have been converted into community kitchens. He also noted that one church provides 500 meals to locals daily and shared that one Indian man told him he did not eat for eight days while riding his scooter 500 miles to feed his family.

"They're much more concerned with starvation than coronavirus," Dao insisted, according to Premier Christian News. "We've estimated that at certain major city train stations, every day about between 20 and 25 children will just show up 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."

He went on to stress what a blessing it is to serve those in need so that Indians can see God's love and mercy in the midst of their crisis.

"[The people of India are 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 who we can get to," Dao expressed.

5/7/21 - Sidebar with Yohannan's comments added.

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