A family member looks on as several funeral pyres of those patients who died of COVID-19 disease burn up
A family member looks on as several funeral pyres of those patients who died of COVID-19 disease burn up



A family member looks on as funeral pyres of coronavirus patients burn during a mass cremation in New Delhi. Image: Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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Key facts

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confirmed new cases of Covid-19 in India on Thursday, a global record

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total confirmed coronavirus deaths in India, though the actual figure may be higher

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275 million

people in India who live on less than £1.40 per day

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countries where funds are being spent. From 28 April all donations will be used in India

India is facing an unprecedented wave of coronavirus infections. Hospitals are overwhelmed and people are going without potentially life-saving treatment.

Oxygen supplies are falling short of demand and funeral pyres are burning around the clock. Several cities have imposed lockdowns and curfews, which have a knock-on effect for people’s livelihoods, with the poorest and most marginalised communities being hit hardest.

Given the severity of the crisis, we have extended our Coronavirus Appeal to include India. DEC charities, who have a long history of working with the most vulnerable communities in India, are responding to the crisis by providing medical supplies, treatment facilities and logistics support to overwhelmed health services. With your help, we can do more to help the most vulnerable communities as they face a life-or-death situation.

Since its launch in July 2020, the DEC Coronavirus Appeal has raised £41 million and this funding is being spent by DEC charities across the seven fragile places the appeal was launched for, including Yemen, Syria and South Sudan. Given the devastating coronavirus surge in India at the moment, we extended our appeal to include India on 28 April 2021 and, as of this date, all donations received will be used to respond to the crisis in India. In the months ahead, spending priorities could change as the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold around the world and at that time we will communicate any change to how appeal funds will be spent.


Help India's most vulnerable people face a devastating coronavirus surge.

We need your help to: 

  • support India’s health system with PPE, equipment, and isolation and medical care facilities
  • help give vulnerable families the means to protect themselves with water, soap, handwashing stations and information
  • ensure that the Covid-19 crisis doesn’t mean people go hungry and children become malnourished.

A donation from you could help the most vulnerable communities in India as they face a life-or-death situation.

  • £20 could provide a medical kit to a vulnerable person
  • £50 could provide essential hygiene kits to two families
  • £100 could provide PPE for ten frontline health workers
Medical works care for patients in a makeshift ward

Healthcare workers in PPE attend to Covid-19 patients in a makeshift isolation ward in a banquet hall in New Delhi. Image: Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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UK public pull together for India

Atul, who has raised over £19,000 for our Coronavirus Appeal, explains how you can donate through your local post office

Stories have been coming in about individuals, communities, associations and companies from around the UK who have been fundraising for the Coronavirus Appeal to help people in India through this crisis.

Atul Bathia, Postmaster at the Broadway Post Office in Wimbledon, whose grandfather was born in India, has already raised over £19,000.

“I have family and friends in India, and I speak to them daily," says Atul. "One is not very well at all. It’s so worrying. That’s why I chose to support the DEC. Their charities are there now, on the ground, ready, moving.”

India accounts for nearly half of new coronavirus cases worldwide

Last week, almost half of all confirmd new cases of coronavirus worldwide occured in India and there were 412,000 new cases recorded yesterday.
At the same time, the top scientific advisor to the Indian government has warned that a third surge could be inevitable. Scientific advisors are saying that the country should prepare for another surge, but at present the country is struggling to deal with the second surge, which has left health care facilities overwhelmed and thousands unable to access potentially life saving treatment. 

The BBC has reported that there are also fears over a "double mutant variant" of the virus which was first discovered in March and has been linked to India's deadly second surge. 

Funeral pyres burn around the clock as India struggles with coronavirus

RamKaran Mishra is a Hindu priest who performs the last rites at the Ghazipur crematorium in east Delhi.

In this distressing report from The Guardian, he describes the situation in the crematorium, where he is working extremely long hours, with funeral pyres burning around the clock and hospitals sending more bodies daily. 

'India needs the world's help now': Country united in fear of Covid-19

As coronavirus cases surpass 20 million, health care facilities across India are overwhelmed and thousands of people are unable to access potentially life saving treatment. Lockdown measure are also having a knock-on effect for people’s livelihoods, with the poorest and most marginalised communities being hit hardest.  

People are “united in fearful expectation” according to Oxfam India’s Chief Executive Amitabh Behar. "People are literally dying on the streets or in car parks or in their homes. There is no one in India who doesn’t know of friends or family or colleagues who have not had Covid." 

Right now, DEC member charities are bringing vital aid to address the most urgent needs of people in India. These are assistance for healthcare, mitigating loss of livlihoods and preventing hunger, support for women and girls who are often disproportionately affected by disasters, and helping to prevent the spread of the virus. 

A boy stands at the entrance to a tent in a muddy camp in Syria

Farid* stands at the entrance to his tent in a displacement camp in Syria. Image: Karam Almasri/DEC

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Coronavirus in fragile states

Launched in July 2020, the DEC Coronavirus Appeal has been funding work in six of the world's most fragile states - Afghanistan, DR Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen - as well as the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Our in-depth Breaking Point report examines how the pandemic is pushing these places towards catastrophe and how DEC charities have been using donations to help people affected.

A woman holds up a cake at a DEC fundraiser


Help vulnerable communities in India protect themselves from Covid-19 by completing a sponsored challenge, holding an event or asking for donations for your birthday.


Find out more about how DEC charities used donations.