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Indian expats contribute to jab drive back home

3 May 2021 By ANIRBAN RAY

With India struggling in face of increasing number of COVID-19 cases, some Indian expats in Oman have joined forces to contribute to a campaign which aims to buy vaccines for people back in their native country. 

They are donating money to the Vaccine Challenge initiative launched by the Kerala government.

The Kerala Vaccine Challenge is a social media campaign for making contribution to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund.

Almost 129mn people in India have received at least one dose of the vaccine as of April 27, as per the Indian Health Ministry reports. However, that’s just over eight per cent of India’s total population. 

Since the launch of the Kerala Vaccine Challenge a few days back, Indian expats, especially Malayalees, in places like Muscat, Barka, Sohar and Salalah, have made considerable contributions towards this urgent humanitarian cause. 

Sangeet Sukumaran, an employee at a ministry, said he had facilitated buying vaccines for 50 people. “We are passing through really bad times in India and it is our individual responsibility to help one another,” he said.

“I am asking everyone to come forward to help in these bad times. This is the time for us to go beyond our party politics, caste and religious differences and stand by one another.” 

People from all walks of life including coffee shop owners, businessmen and public and private-secor employees are coming together to contribute, he added.

Santosh Kutty Nair, a salesman said, it is sad that Indian government is struggling to provide vaccines to its own people having been busy sending vaccines to other countries in the world a few months back.

“There’s a lot of chaos in India right now; everything is messed up,” he said.

“Most of my relatives and friends are down with the disease. Sadly, some have passed away. I feel sorry for the people. Now instead of engaging in the blame game, we as individuals should try to help as much as possible. Vaccination appears to be the only solution to check the pandemic right now.” 

India has been registering close to 400,000 daily cases for past few days as the pandemic severely strains the country’s health system, leading to an acute shortage of beds, oxygen and treatment drugs. 

Siraj, owner of Fawan Restaurant, said he has always helped people of Kerala in every crisis including the Kerala floods in 2018. 

“This time too I and my friends came together to contribute to the Kerala fund. I have contributed to help buy vaccines for 50 people and will do so again soon. Our government is facing financial troubles because of the COVID-19 situation and we, non-resident Indians, must come together to assist the people.

 

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