India's COVID-19 crisis: Long Island communities step up

Long Islanders are coming together to send aid to India as the country is in crisis, with several states in lockdown. The county has hit an all-time high of more than 4,000 COVID deaths a day and more than 22 million active cases. Overall, more than 240,000 people in India have died.

"Please help India during this difficult time and save the largest democracy on this earth," Dr. Urmilesh Arya, the president of the Association of Indians in America, said on Monday.

"As people are getting more vaccinated here, I would like to focus efforts now to help the Indian community who are going through their third wave of the pandemic," said Jennifer Vartanov, the CFO of Merchant Industry, a credit card processing company. "They are short on oxygen, they are short on ventilators, they are short on PPE. From what we are hearing, their medical system is collapsing."

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Nassau County officials and civic leaders joined forces with the South Asian American community Monday at a Sikh prayer center in Hicksville. This area is home to one of the fastest-growing South Asian and Indian American communities in New York. Together, these groups are announcing a major aid campaign to help India fight the pandemic. No donation of money or PPE is too small. 

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Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello called the situation in India a heartbreaking tragedy.

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"The suffering is just unimaginable but some things we can sympathize with — overflowing hospitals, mortuaries that are overflowing, it's just staggering," Nicolello said. "We know we must do something — we must act to help our brothers and sisters in India." 

At least two groups on Long Island are scheduled to charter flights to bring PPE and other medical supplies to India this weekend. 

How You Can Help

You can learn more about the aid efforts and how to donate here: