Ararat resident and owner of local restaurant Desi Swag Sania Sarin says she is concerned for the health and wellbeing of her family members and other Indian residents as the country's COVID-19 crisis continues to worsen.
India's official count of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 20 million, while deaths have officially exceeded 220,000, although the actual numbers are believed to be even higher.
"The COVID situation is very bad there, it's one or two cases per family," Mrs Sarin said.
Mrs Sarin has lived in Australia since 2011, moving to Ararat about 18 months ago from Halls Gap.
She and her husband, Gil, were originally from the town of Ludhiana in Punjab, where some of their family still live.
Mrs Sarin said the situation there is dire.
"My grandma is 93 years old and she hasn't been out of her home for three months because we are too scared because she is so old," Mrs Sarin said.
"They are all sanitising and doing everything they can, but it's really tough because they have to get out of the house to get the groceries and other essential things.
"They have one or two IDs and permits per family for when they go out.
"Because it's an industrial town there are a lot of factories that have closed and people are also struggling for money because the workers are jobless. If they have COVID or any other health issues they don't have much money to support themselves."
Ms Sarin said she is also concerned for her mother, who lives in another town and is more vulnerable to the virus due to an existing medical condition.
Infections in India began to surge in February, with the spread of more contagious variants of the virus coinciding with relaxed restrictions.
Mrs Sarin said while her family are taking as much care as possible, many have not.
"Most of the people in India are not following the protocols and the government are not imposing stricter rules," she said.
"Last year in March, they did the whole lockdown and curfew scenario and got things under control. After that things got more and more lenient, so it's at a higher stage now."
Mrs Sarin said there had not been enough medical equipment to deal with the increased need.
"There's a lack of cylinders and ventilators, so they are just using it for the people they think have higher chances of living. So doctors have to pick and choose now," she said.
"My cousins are doctors, so they are on the front-line helping people, so they are on their toes wearing all the stuff they need to wear. It's really hard for them to see people not being given oxygen because of the fact they can't live long.
"It's really hard to make their families understand that their family members don't have much chance so they should give the cylinder to the person who has more chance."
Mrs Sarin said she was pleased to see some countries supporting India.
"Almost all the countries are really trying to help. The Canadian government are helping through Red Cross and Khalsa Aid," she said.
"The Australian government said they would do all they could to help and almost all the countries are doing what they can to help. It's really good to see because COVID is a thing I think all the countries should come together for because all the countries have been through something like this, India has gone further, but they all experience similar things."
"A little help can save a life or even a family."
Desi Swag will be holding a buffet lunch and dinner fundraiser on Sunday, May 16. All the money raised will to Khalsa Aid, a charity based in the United Kingdom supporting the relief efforts in India.
The event will be 'pay as you will' meaning people can donate whatever amount they please.
Due to COVID-19 restricitons, people must book in advance, with bookings open from 11am-2.15pm, 5-7pm, and 7.30-9pm.
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