Himesh Patel backs urgent DEC appeal for India as Covid-19 escalation continues

Actor Himesh Patel (Yesterday, Tenet and TV series The Luminaries and Avenue 5) has today joined the Disasters Emergency Committee’s urgent call for donations to assist vulnerable communities in India, as the country continues to tackle the worst outbreak of Covid-19 anywhere in the world.  

Since extending its Coronavirus Appeal to include India two weeks ago (28 April), the DEC, which brings together 14 leading UK aid charities, has raised £5 million to provide vital assistance to communities across India where numbers continue to spiral out of control.  

Patel, currently in Toronto filming the new HBO Max series Station Eleven, appears in a filmed appeal launched by the DEC today, urgently calling for additional funds as 380,000 people on average a day in India contract Covid and close to 4,000 people die daily from the virus. 

Patel said: “Like so many people both at home in the UK and around the world, I have been deeply saddened by the scenes from India of people being unable to get the care they so desperately need as they battle coronavirus. 
“Family and friends with relatives in the country have been telling me that the reality is as bad as, if not worse than, what we have seen on our screens. 
“But what has also struck me is the outpouring of solidarity, not just from the British Indian community, but from people across the UK as the full horror unfolds of what this pandemic looks like when it spirals out of control and a health system is unable to cope. So many have suffered in the UK and yet still have so much to give, rallying to help others as they face their darkest hours. 
“That’s why I’ve joined with the Disasters Emergency Committee to appeal for donations so that the DEC’s member charities, including the British Red Cross, CARE International and Save the Children, can continue to rapidly scale up their efforts delivering medical supplies, treatment facilities and other urgently needed aid to India’s most vulnerable communities.” 

DEC charities have already been responding to the most urgent needs facing vulnerable communities and the £5 million raised so far is being used to set up temporary Covid hospitals and isolation facilities, supply oxygen concentrators to government hospitals, provide helpline advice to families suffering with Covid at home, as well as supplying food and vouchers to people unable to work. 

DEC member Christian Aid, for instance, is currently supporting vulnerable people who need hospitalisation and will be using DEC funds to continue to set up community care centres in rural Jharkhand. Anand Kumar, Honorary Director of PHIA, one of Christian Aid’s local partners, said: “We are gasping for oxygen. It is horrifying that people are dying because of lack of essential medical facilities. The pandemic has reached rural areas where the health infrastructure is not so strong.” 

He continued: “But, the aid is getting through and we are grateful to each and every person who has donated. When times are difficult every human hand needs to come together to help save lives.” 

DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: “We are enormously grateful for the £5 million so generously donated by the UK public, companies and foundations in just two weeks, which means that DEC charities can reach people desperately seeking help in India. However, we know this disaster is by no means over – the poorest and most marginalised communities have been hit the hardest, with potentially catastrophic consequences in the weeks ahead. I am therefore hugely thankful for Himesh’s support in helping us continue to highlight the urgency of the situation in India. Please continue to give as generously as you can.”  

To make a donation to the DEC Coronavirus Appeal visit www.dec.org.uk, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, or send a cheque to DEC Coronavirus Appeal, PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA. To donate £10 text SUPPORT to 70150. Texts cost £10 and the whole £10 goes to the DEC CORONAVIRUS APPEAL. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer's permission. For full terms and conditions and more information go to www.dec.org.uk. 

Donations will help provide the following:

  • £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. 

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Notes to editors

Media enquiries: please call Nicola Peckett on 020 7387 0200 or 07930 999 014 or email npeckett@dec.org.uk.


Appeal films and images 

A collection of images showing DEC member charities’ response to the second wave in India can be found here.  

Himesh Patel’s appeal film can be found here, including a broadcast-quality version and a 60-second social media version under ‘Alternative Files’ which you can use, embed and/or share as appropriate. All clips and images are cleared for broadcast. 


Examples of how DEC charities are and will be using donations in India 

To support India’s health system:  

  • British Red Cross is supporting the Indian Red Cross Society to procure oxygen concentrators and Covid prevention kits; 
  • CARE International is setting up large-capacity temporary Covid hospitals and providing essential equipment and supplies to treat Covid patients; 
  • Save the Children is supplying Covid care kits to marginalised communities in home isolation with little or no access to health care facilities, setting up field hospitals and providing BiPAP machines (a type of ventilator), stretchers, oxygen cylinders and other equipment. 

To scale up preventative measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 amongst the most vulnerable: 

  • Age International is working with elderly support groups providing immunity kits (eg vitamins and supplements), soap and basic hygiene kits; 
  • Christian Aid is scaling up its current response in rural Jharkhand and is setting up community care centres;  
  • Tearfund will continue to raise awareness about Covid preventative measures as well as running communication campaigns about vaccinations.  

To provide additional support to the poorest and most vulnerable households:  

  • Islamic Relief’s local partner is providing food and hygiene kits to health and isolation centres; 
  • ActionAid is working through local women and youth groups to provide medical supplies, food, water and cash assistance;     
  • Oxfam is distributing medical equipment, hygiene kits, food and cash.   

About the DEC: When large-scale disasters hit countries without the capacity to respond, the DEC brings together 14 leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently. In these times of crisis, people in life-and-death situations need our help and our mission is to save, protect and rebuild lives through effective humanitarian response.      

The DEC’s 14 member charities are: Action Against Hunger, ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK.    

The DEC Coronavirus Appeal: Since its launch in July 2020, the DEC Coronavirus Appeal has raised £50 million. The majority of this funding is being spent by DEC charities across the seven fragile places the appeal was originally launched for, including Yemen, Syria and South Sudan. Given the devastating coronavirus surge in India, the DEC extended its Coronavirus Appeal to include India on 28 April 2021 and, as of this date, all donations received are being 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.