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29 April 2021

UNICEF Australia has today launched the India COVID-19 Crisis Appeal to provide lifesaving assistance to people affected by the deadliest days of the pandemic so far in India.

The outbreak is almost four times the size of the first wave, with daily cases surging to more than 362,000 and the virus is spreading much faster.

“Families and communities in India are in desperate need of assistance,” said UNICEF Australia’s Director of International Programs Felicity Butler-Wever. “As cases are rising exponentially, many more people will die if we do not send urgent help, and children could be left without their families if we do not reach them in time.”

The second wave has seen the death toll in India surpass 200,000, while the total number of infections has risen above 17 million.

Hospitals and health centres across India are struggling to cope with the overwhelming number of new cases, with hospital beds, essential drugs and oxygen running out.

“UNICEF is on the ground, working with partners to deliver urgently needed medical equipment including oxygen, PPE, hygiene supplies and critical care. But we urgently need help to do more.”

Donations to the appeal will:

  • Increase access to life-saving oxygen by procuring and installing Oxygen Generation Plants (OGPs) in hospitals to treat severe and critical COVID-19 cases;
  • Provide rapid, accurate testing machines in some of the most affected districts;
  • Support the ongoing distribution of COVID-19 vaccines through the UNICEF-supported COVAX initiative.

“Throughout the world, children have become the hidden victims of the pandemic. In India we have already seen more than a hundred million pushed further into poverty, losing their education, facing heightened risk of abuse or exploitation or experiencing the devastation of seeing their parents or caregivers fall ill or die.

“Many Australians are seeing the distressing news of the events in India and wondering how they can help. We ask them to consider donating to UNICEF Australia’s India COVID-19 Crisis Appeal,” said Felicity.

Note to editors:

UNICEF Australia’s India COVID-19 Crisis Appeal is here.

Footage and photos available for download here