A Tsunami in India
In light of the current devastating situation of the COVID19 pandemic in India, we would like to share an article, “A Tsunami in India“, published on 1st May 2021 by one of the Spanish newspapers, La Voz de Galicia, written by our Founder and General Director, Jaume Sanllorente. The article is a translation of the original Spanish article.
I have been living since 17 years in Mumbai and haven’t experienced a situation like the one we are experiencing in recent weeks. With terrifying figures of more than 300,000 infections and with more than 3,000 people dying a day, at the time of writing, the palpable sense of loss on the street is one of deep sadness and powerlessness in the face of a situation that has exceeded any anticipation.
I have witnessed that by each passing hour the situation worsened. Hundreds of patients were dying at the doors of hospitals due to lack of oxygen, which has been depleted practically throughout the country. I have seen the collapsed hospitals, with no place for the sick, and improvised funeral pyres in cricket grounds, yards or parks to incinerate the deceased. There are the images that will never be forgotten, even in a country like this, used to live with tragedy.
The lower impact of the first wave as compared to other countries and a strict lockdown led to a feeling of false triumphalism, although, in other cases it was impossible to maintain the strict lockdown. How is it possible when 70% of the population in a city like Mumbai lives in extreme poverty, homeless or crammed under a tarpaulin? If this happens in a country with 1.3 billion inhabitants where a new variant of the virus breaks out, we have a perfect breeding ground for an uncontrolled crisis.
But other reasons would also explain this situation. India is one of the world’s leading drug and vaccine manufacturers, exporting millions of doses to other countries in recent months. Now the country is forced to import oxygen and vaccines to control the outbreak, so the production of doses will be affected internationally. This is one more example that a crisis like this affects us not only because human beings are in solidarity by nature, but because we are connected. What is happening in India has consequences for the rest of the world.
This new variant of the COVID is going to leave in a tremendously vulnerable situation a country that already lives in a delicate balance. It will be a new drama for millions of people, who will return to face the situations of hunger and need like the ones we experienced a year ago. The organizations that work in the field are going to need all the possible help to face this situation, in the short and medium term. First, to contain the outbreak of this wave, and second, for the devastating consequences it is most likely to have.