TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Sai Ram Upadhyayula arrived in the United States right before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
He said after being away from home for a year, seeing another outbreak occur in his home country of India is concerning.
“Over the last few weeks we’ve had like 400,000 cases daily. People are scared to come out. There’s a shortage of oxygen and beds in the hospitals. It’s getting hard on them,” he said.
Due to President Biden’s India travel restrictions, Sai cancelled a trip home planned for May 14. He said he’s going to miss out on several important occasions like his parents wedding anniversary.
“I’m missing my mom’s birthday and my dad’s birthday. I’m missing everything. Hopefully somehow we can connect virtually, and hopefully things go back to good again,” Upadhyayula noted.
Zachariah Mathew is another Indian Terre Haute resident who planned to travel back home in the coming months. But his family who live in large cities like Bangalore and Mumbai are currently on lockdowns.
“The uncertainty has become a new normal,” he said. “But when there is uncertainty about uncertainty, it becomes really difficult. They don’t know what to expect tomorrow.”
Matthew said the biggest issue is lack of resources.
“That’s where it becomes really difficult. It’s not just PPE, oxygen and hospitals. It’s also healthy laborers, someone who is absolutely healthy not infected with COVID-19 not having anything to buy bread and not being able to feed their children,” he concluded.
Dr. Arthur Feinsod, president of the Interfaith Council of the Wabash Valley, wrote a letter asking the community to support local Indian residents. Feinsod lost his mother to COVID-19 last year. He said it’s important to support each other during tough times.
“It’s very personal to me. I look at our Indian friends, neighbors and coworkers and think of what they must be going through being here in Indiana knowing there’s so much suffering in their homeland. My heart just went out to them. All of us with the interfaith council were eager to do something,” Dr. Feinsod said.