PLANO, Texas — India remains to be the epicenter of the coronavirus. The country doesn’t have enough vaccines or beds for patients. A local Plano man took it upon himself to help those in need in rural areas by buying an ambulance.
In the cellphone video he shared with WFAA, Tarun Kappala takes us through the streets of India, where the streets are nearly empty.
Kappala is from the Plano area, and is on the ground in Hyderabad, India helping those in dire need.
In the video, he took us through the streets, and hospitals in India that are filled with COVID-19 patients.
Kappala’s journey home started with a trip to see his mom.
"My mom got a brain stroke, and she is bedridden,” said Kappala.
The 30-year-old’s mother is recovering, and during that time, Kappala saw the heartbreak around him.
“I was getting multiple requests: 'Can you help us get a hospital bed?'” Kappala said.
Kappala purchased an ambulance with the help of Ethne, an organization based in Carrolton.
Kappala’s goal was to help those in rural areas that can’t afford an ambulance from their home to the hospital.
“It’s like 100 dollars for a COVID Uber ride,” Kappala said.
$100 is the monthly income for millions of people in India.
“I lifted [a rickshaw driver] in a blanket, and put him in the ambulance,” Kappala said.
From rickshaw drivers to daily migrant workers, they’re left feeling helpless.
“There are a few people living in India, in slums, who don’t even know what internet is,” Kappala said.
With the hospitals overrun, the need for help continues to grow.
“It’s like fitting 300 people in a five-bedroom house,” Kappala said.
With a shortage of medical workers, Kappala’ s wife, Dr.Geetha Gajulavarth, has been FaceTiming him for his emotional support.
“When I walk through the COVID ward, I just hear beeps,” Kappala said.
Kappala says it brings a smile to his face when he hands out food and water, especially when he's helping children.
“She’s probably a year old, she didn’t have clothes when we were distributing food," he said of one small child. "When I gave her the box of food, the smile on her face made my day,” Kappala said.
If you would like to help the Ethne organization, go here to donate.