AN Indian man living in Letterkenny says the images coming out of his country are “heartbreaking” and that he prays the situation there improves.
A brutal second wave of the coronavirus has seen India’s official death toll pass the 250,000 mark – although experts believe the actual number may be higher.
The country has seen more Covid cases in the last seven days than anywhere else and footage being beamed around the world has shown people dying while waiting for beds and hospital services crumbling under the strain.
Ram Mohan works in Optum and coaches the recently formed Letterkenny Cricket Club.
Originally from the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, Mr Mohan says he fears for the safety of his family back home.
“Of course I worry about my sisters, my aunts, my uncles, my friends and all my extended family. Everyone is really worried but all we can do is pray for their safety and pray that we come out of this.”
As to what changed between the first wave, which India appeared to navigate quite well, and the ferocious second wave, Mr Mohan said initially all measures were adhered to in terms of social distancing and staying home. A new variant though has led to the virus spreading and sparked the crisis India now faces.
A second factor is that in a country of 1.3 billion people, a mass lockdown is not straightforward.
“It’s not easy to lock down because you have so many people working at ground level,” said Mr Mohan.
He added that he has stopped watching the news because he does not feel the situation in India is being accurately portrayed. Instead he talks to his family on a regular basis to get a clearer picture of what is going on.
Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs has pledged to send aid to the stricken nation, possibly in the form of oxygen and ventilators. Other western countries have vowed to do the same.
Mr Mohan said the show of solidarity is very welcome.
“I saw that Leo Varadkar is working with the EU on sending help. We must stand together because today it is India, tomorrow it could be somewhere else. This is the time to stand together because no one should fight this alone.
“It is going to be challenging to get a handle on it but all we can do is pray and try to look after our safety as best we can. If we follow the restrictions, including here in Ireland, we can get through this.”