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WFDB Launches Fundraising Campaign for COVID Relief in India; Diamond Supplies May Drop 10% to 20% May 02, 2021 (0 comments)


Antwerp, Belgium—With India’s COVID crisis spiraling out of control, the United States on Friday announced travel restrictions from the country starting Tuesday, and the jewelry industry—with its close ties to India—is both keeping a wary eye on the situation and stepping in to help.

The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) has launched a campaign, Diamond Aid, to raise funds to help India in its battle with COVID-19. Some of the hardest-hit areas of the country are its key diamond areas, especially Surat, in Gujarat, and also Mumbai. According to an AP News report, as of last Friday India now has reported more than 18.7 million cases since the pandemic began, second only to the United States. The Indian Health Ministry on Friday reported 3,498 deaths in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total to 208,330. Experts believe both figures are an undercount.

While industry leaders in India don’t anticipate the kind of shutdowns that occurred last March, diamond factories are losing workers to the illness and most anticipate a 10% to 20% drop in diamond supplies in the next month or two. Still, since supplies ramped up following the initial lockdowns last year, they maintain it shouldn’t have a lasting impact—and if the COVID situation eases by the end of May, possibly not even a noticeable impact on global supplies.

Colin Shah, chairman of the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), the industry group, said in this report that “if all goes well, there is going to be shortage of few items if manufacturing stays at lower levels in May and June. If, as expected, we see a COVID recovery towards the end of May, things will be okay for the industry.”

But help is urgently needed nevertheless, and in the tradition of this industry, the WFDB has stepped in. Following an emergency session over Zoom last week, the WFDB Executive Committee decided unanimously to take the lead in mobilizing the international diamond and jewelry industry to donate funds to purchase essential medications and equipment that are desperately needed by hospitals in Surat and Mumbai. Hospitals are overwhelmed, with oxygen supplies depleted and many patients dying outside before they can even be let into the door. 

The Diamond Aid fundraising campaign, organized in coordination with the leadership of the Bharat Diamond Bourse, is a multi-pronged campaign that is being launched through personal appeals to industry leaders, and through the press, Internet and on social media.

WFDB President Yoram Dvash said, “The international diamond and jewelry industry is a close-knit community, actually a family, made up of members from around the globe, many of whom live or originate in India. As members of this family, we cannot stand by without helping. The WFDB has decided to take the lead in helping our Indian brothers. We call upon the generosity of our industry to help the people of India through this devastating time.”

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