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How North Texans Are Helping India As The Country Struggles With COVID-19

Virus Outbreak India
Anupam Nath/AP
/
AP
A health worker checks oxygen cylinders stored next to a train prepared as COVID-19 care centre in the wake of spike in the number of positive coronavirus cases, at a railway station in Gauhati, India, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Infections in India hit another grim daily record on Thursday as demand for medical oxygen jumped seven-fold and the government denied reports that it was slow in distributing life-saving supplies from abroad. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

Shailesh Shah, president of the India Association of North Texas, talks with KERA's Justin Martin about the group's efforts to help families in India and North Texas.

The news of more than 100 million Americans being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 stands in stark contrast to the deepening crisis in India. India reported more than 400,000 new infections on Thursday alone. And for Indian Americans in North Texas, this all hits close to home.

KERA's Justin Martin talked about this with Shailesh Shah. He's the president of the India Association of North Texas.

On how Indian American families in North Texas are coping:

So right now the situation is devastating, and an Indian family who lives in North Texas area here in Dallas, they are losing their sleep and they tried to contact their loved one in India. And some of them already been sick and some of them have died, and it's hard.

It's really hard for the people who live here. And not only that; another thing that happened is the travel ban. So the people cannot even travel to India.

On how families are staying in touch:

They've been calling, they're either on WhatsApp or the Zoom call and trying to see face-to-face.

Sometimes they do FaceTime to see how they're doing and always advise them to be safe.

On providing emotional support:

The India Association of North Texas has been in touch with those families and asked them to reach out to those families and have a kind of prayer session and help with some kind of motivational talk.

We also advise them to follow the CDC guidelines to get out of this trend, and that's all we can do from here at this point.

On what they're doing to help:

India Association of North Texas is a community organization, and right now we are raising the funds for the COVID-19 India relief fund. We are working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to provide them ventilators and concentrated oxygen.

We are also working with other nonprofit organizations to provide the food and all the prepackages to the kids because the kids need a lot of help because their parents might be in the hospital or might have died. So that's why we are reaching out to underprivileged kids for the food and supplies.

At the same time, we are also working with the instruction on how to use that concentrated oxygen there.

On what Texans can do to help:

You can go to iant.org and just donate funds, because that's what's needed. And if you have any contacts or any vendors for ventilators or concentrated oxygen, please send an email to us at iant.org.

Interview highlights were lightly edited for clarity.

Got a tip? Email Justin Martin at Jmartin@kera.org. You can follow Justin on Twitter @MisterJMart.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.