With the COVID-19 outbreak in India only getting worse, Ballarat community groups are calling for the public to help provide relief.
India has recorded more than 300,000 new cases of the virus for the past 13 consecutive days, peaking at 401,993 new cases on Friday.
More than 3000 people also succumbed to the virus on each of those same 13 days including 3689 on Saturday.
The Friends of India Network has partnered with Sydney-based charity SEWA International with the goal of raising about $90,000 to purchase 30 oxygen concentrators and send them to remote makeshift field hospitals being set-up by India's armed forces.
An oxygen concentrator is a machine that draws oxygen from air in the environment and emits it to the user as 90 to 100 per cent oxygen.
Friends of India Network president Dr Sanjay Sharma, who is an anaesthetist by trade, said the numbers of new cases in India would overwhelm any country's health system.
"We know that we can manage people in lower resourced environments if we have oxygen available but in a makeshift hospital, you don't have oxygen available at once so the thing that we are now focusing with this fundraiser is getting oxygen concentrators," he said.
"Oxygen concentrators are need of the hour and we are getting oxygen concentrators by the dozens and wanting to ship them across to India so that people can actually be looked after in all these makeshift arrangements that are being put up for those who can't be managed at home."
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Meanwhile, City of Ballarat intercultural ambassador Bobby Mehta has connected with Care Australia to create the SMS India COVID Appeal.
The appeal is accepting donations and is also planning a movie fundraiser at the Regent Cinema next month and a charity basketball game at the Minerdome.
Mr Mehta said while he had seen a lot of social media posts saying things like 'pray for India', more needed to be done.
"Unfortunately prayers can only do so much but we really need to get some funds generated so that we can support the ongoing relief efforts in India," he said.
"We just had a look at various charities who are active in India and came across Care Australia, phoned them up, and they're doing a fantastic job in India in terms of building hospitals, providing beds, providing PPE, driving vaccinations."
To donate to the Friends of India Network's oxygen concentrator project, visit tinyurl.com/FIN-BALLARAT.
To donate to the SMS India COVID Appeal, visit makingadifference.gofundraise.com.au/page/SMS-56783938
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