Himesh Patel calls for coronavirus aid to India in video appeal

Actor Himesh Patel has called for donations to India’s most vulnerable communities as the country tackles a major Covid-19 outbreak.

The star of films including Danny Boyle’s Yesterday and Tenet, 30, appears in a video appeal organised by the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella group of 14 UK aid charities.

Since extending its coronavirus appeal to include India two weeks ago, the DEC has raised £5 million to set up temporary hospitals and isolation facilities, supply oxygen concentrators to Government hospitals, provide helpline advice to families with Covid-19 at home and supply food and vouchers to people unable to work.

Speaking against a series of images showing Covid-19 treatment centres, Patel says the virus is “spiralling out of control in India” and a “devastating new wave has left health services overwhelmed”.

Another 4,000 people had died in the past 24 hours as of May 14, raising total fatalities to 262,317 since the pandemic began.

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi has also warned for people to take extra precautions as the outbreak is spreading to rural areas.

Patel, currently in Toronto filming the new HBO Max series Station Eleven, said of the project: “Like so many people both at home in the UK and around the world, I have been deeply saddened by the scenes from India of people being unable to get the care they so desperately need as they battle coronavirus.

“Family and friends with relatives in the country have been telling me that the reality is as bad as, if not worse than, what we have seen on our screens.

“But what has also struck me is the outpouring of solidarity, not just from the British Indian community, but from people across the UK as the full horror unfolds of what this pandemic looks like when it spirals out of control and a health system is unable to cope.

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (Victoria Jones/PA)

“So many have suffered in the UK and yet still have so much to give, rallying to help others as they face their darkest hours.

“That’s why I’ve joined with the Disasters Emergency Committee to appeal for donations so that the DEC’s member charities, including the British Red Cross, Care International and Save the Children, can continue to rapidly scale up their efforts delivering medical supplies, treatment facilities and other urgently needed aid to India’s most vulnerable communities.”

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: “We are enormously grateful for the £5 million so generously donated by the UK public, companies and foundations in just two weeks, which means that DEC charities can reach people desperately seeking help in India.

“However, we know this disaster is by no means over – the poorest and most marginalised communities have been hit the hardest, with potentially catastrophic consequences in the weeks ahead.

“I am therefore hugely thankful for Himesh’s support in helping us continue to highlight the urgency of the situation in India.

“Please continue to give as generously as you can.”