Germany's expats mobilize to support Indian 'brothers and sisters'
Trent Murray in Berlin
European governments have pledged additional medical aid to India, as the coronavirus crisis worsens.
The German Government has offered oxygen and medical equipment to be flown to India in coming days. Chancellor Angela Merkel said the scale of the emergency was alarming.
"To the people of India, I want to express my sympathy on the terrible suffering that COVID-19 has brought over your communities," she said. "The fight against the pandemic is our common fight. Germany stands in solidarity with India and is urgently preparing a mission of support."
The scenes of hospitals overflowing and mass cremations have rocked the Indian expatriate community in Germany. Many are working to push politicians and companies to provide additional support.
"Every Indian and every German is very sad. So many Germans are calling me and sending me the news and asking what they can do to help. (They are) showing sympathy for us and praying to God that the situation can come under control," said Barjinder Sodhi, a community leader and business owner from Berlin.
His restaurant has turned into a rallying point for those wanting to help, with volunteers from both India and Germany working around the clock to call companies to ask for support and donations.
"We have contacted over 40 companies saying 'please help with whatever you can' - with concentrators, with ventilators, with oxygen, with PPE. Oxygen concentrator machines are available and we are getting quotations for over 50 machines. We are getting these quotations and sending them to the Indian government and other NGOs," said Mr Sodhi.
Beefed up border controls
While the German Air Force is expected to help fly supplies to India, inbound commercial flights back to Germany have been restricted.
Passengers from India have been barred from entering Germany, with the Health Minister saying the restrictions are necessary to slow the spread of infectious new variants. German citizens can still return but will need to quarantine on arrival.
Many Indian-German citizens are calling on the Indian Government to take drastic action in response to the crisis, including following Germany's tough approach to lockdowns.
"We want to appeal to our government and our Prime Minister - please, please, please stop all the rallies and exhibitions. Please stop all the get-togethers and impose a curfew. It is very important. We know from Germany if you impose a curfew, it helps. It really helps," said Mr Sodhi.