HOUSTON - India needs help breathing and local organizations are teaming up with other cities and countries to help. The second wave hitting the country of 1.3 billion has seen infections rise by more than 1 million in the past week alone.
"It’s like a tidal wave. It was unexpected. Everybody was caught off guard," said Jagdip Ahluwalia with The Indo American Chamber Of Commerce of Greater Houston.
They came together with the U.S. India Chamber of Commerce DFW to raise funds from their members and the broader Indian-American community to provide needed humanitarian medical equipment for India. Together, the organizations raised $1 million.
"We are collectively buying ventilators, which are badly needed in India. The first consignment left last Friday and they were handed over to the Red Cross in Delhi and deployed. The next consignment left today," said Ahluwalia.
"Some of the ventilators have gone through the Red Cross, others have gone through doctors and hospitals, nonprofits specified by the donors."
United Airlines is flying the aid over to India complimentary.
There are several organizations with local Houston chapters raising money, buying ventilators and distributing to the country. The travel ban prohibits travel from India for non-US citizens.
"We are a globally interdependent community and some of these restrictions are essential to prevent the variants from spreading even further," said Sanjay Ramabhadran, a commerce member and Houstonian. "We are hopeful that this stems the further spread of the variant and it is short lived pain that we all have a collective responsibility to our fellow human beings to endure so that we can all come out of this stronger."