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Responding to Covid-19 in India

A woman in a blue sari smiles at the camera. Emergency food rations and sanitary equipment are in a bag balanced on her head. In the background is a tree and some washing.
Pramila, pictured with food rations she received through All We Can’s Emergency Covid-19 Appeal response in Odisha. (N.B. image from Coronavirus Response in 2020)

In April 2021, India was in the grips of the very worst of Covid-19 – and the world watched in horror as devastating statistics dominated the headlines. At the peak of its second wave of the virus, India recorded more than 414,000 new confirmed cases and over 3,900 deaths in a single day. At the time of writing, there has been a total of over 31 million confirmed cases and more than 418,000 Covid-19 deaths have been recorded in India – with the true toll thought to be much higher.

In the months since April, All We Can’s local partner based in Odisha, a state in the east of India, has been working tirelessly to ensure that the most vulnerable families in their region have access to the emergency resources needed. By working together with village leaders to identify those most in need, they have been able to provide sanitary kits and food supplies, including rice, dal, oil and biscuits to 1,100 families across 5 villages. Covid-19 induced interruptions to travel and access to work has meant that for those who are particularly marginalised in their communities – such as widows and the elderly – these kits have been a critical resource.

These kits are helping meet the immediate needs in these communities – but All We Can’s local partner is also looking toward the future, and working together with local communities to address the challenges of longer term food and income security. By providing seeds and start-up funds for families to start kitchen gardens and develop agricultural livelihoods work, families will have the tools they need to work towards a resilient, secure future.

While there is much to be thankful for, this vital work has not been without its challenges. The need for emergency support is so widespread that All We Can’s local partner has struggled to reach all those in need – and as people have returned to rural villages from large cities and towns, household sizes have increased, and support must be stretched ever-further. There remains a deep-seated fear of the virus across the region in which our partner is working, meaning that many are hesitant to leave their homes and resume farming work – which will impact food security for families in the long term. To help build confidence, All We Can’s local partner has been spreading awareness messaging alongside the provision of sanitary equipment and food, which they hope will enable people to return to their fields and places of work once again.

Thanks to the generous response of supporters to All We Can and the Methodist Church in Britain’s Joint Emergency Coronavirus Appeal, responses have also been undertaken across other parts of India. All We Can has worked together with the Methodist Church in Britain and partners in India to support marginalised communities in Telangana, Southern India, and Jabalpur, as well as Odisha, through emergency food rations, sanitary kits, medical equipment, financial assistance, agricultural support and public awareness campaigns. This life-saving work would not have been possible without your essential support.

The devastating impacts of this virus are far from over. Please continue to pray for the ongoing work of our partners across India, and for the safety of their staff and those that they are serving. You can stand alongside communities as they continue to face the challenges of coronavirus by donating now at allwecan.org.uk/coronavirus.

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