Health care workers and relatives carry a woman from an ambulance for treatment at a COVID-19 care facility in Mumbai, India, May 4, 2021. (CNS photo/Niharika Kulkarni, Reuters)

NEW YORK | Catholic Near East Welfare Association has launched an emergency campaign to help India’s local churches respond to the escalating COVID-19 crisis, announced Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari, CNEWA president.

“We cannot watch this catastrophe unfold and not share the heartbreak and feel the need to help,” Msgr. Vaccari wrote in an appeal to donors.

India, with more than 20 million reported cases, is second only to the United States in number of infections, and some believe the number of cases are underreported because people are dying at home, without medical care. More than 220,000 Indians have died of COVID-19. Media have shown images of mass funeral pyres, overwhelmed hospitals, a lack of beds and oxygen, and a population overcome with grief.

Msgr. Viccari said emergency funds would help the Vatican agency’s partners in India distribute personal protective equipment, medical care, food packets and vaccines.

People can donate at; by phone at 800.442.6392; or by mail, CNEWA, 1011 First Avenue, New York, NY 10022-4195. All contributions are tax deductible, and tax receipts are issued.

CNEWA has worked with India’s Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Catholic churches for more than eight decades. From its offices in Kerala state, CNEWA supports Indian communities’ programs for the marginalized as well as the formation of priests and religious sisters.

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