Members of Whanganui's Indian community have been forced to watch from afar as a second wave of Covid-19 continues to cause havoc back home.
Mike Tweed spoke with expats about how they and their families in India were coping with the escalating situation.
Many of the cadets at the New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy arrived from India in the months leading up to the initial outbreak of Covid-19 last year.
Ashutosh Narvekar, of Mumbai, said his 84-year-old grandfather had tested positive for the virus two weeks ago.
"He had to be quarantined at home, and that meant the rest of my family of six had to be quarantined as well," Narvekar said.
"It almost gets taken for granted here, but when you hear first-hand accounts from your friends and family back home, you realise how much of a grave situation this is.
"I tell my father that because I'm here in New Zealand, it's one less person for him to worry about."
Mumbai was experiencing a "massive shortage" of oxygen and beds, Narvekar said.
"The city alone has a population of about 18 million, and that explains why it is so difficult for the government to control the outbreaks, especially with this second wave.
"Everything is overfilling, everywhere."
Harshit Panjwani arrived from Munich last year, in the last academy intake before New Zealand closed it's borders.
He said he maintained daily contact with his family in India.
"If someone gets Covid-19 in New Zealand it's a big deal, but back in India it's got to the point where it's almost normal," Panjwani said.
"My parents, my younger sister, and my grandmother all got infected, but luckily they managed to cope.
"They were more chilled than I was. I was so worried when they got it."
Arjan Singh Ahluwalia said India was "running out of tools" to fight the latest outbreak.
"That's where the entire world comes in, because if India has it [Covid-19], then the world has it," Ahluwalia said.
"I think we've lost individualism in the world now. It's something we have to fight collectively.
"We're all interconnected."
There are more than 350,000 new Covid cases being reported in India each day and the death toll has now surpassed 200,000.
India's total reported Covid-19 cases have surpassed 18 million.
The Indian variant of Covid-19 has also been detected in Fiji for the first time, prompting a two-week lockdown across the country.
Multicultural Council of Rangitīkei/Whanganui president Pushpa Prasad said she had loved ones in Fiji and India.
"Being so far away is the hardest part," Prasad said.
"One of our associates in India has died, and that was quite devastating.
"We have been advising our loved ones to do the exact same thing we did in New Zealand when lockdown happened.
"Just sit tight. Don't worry if you don't feed yourself for a day, you will be okay. Keep the liquids up."
Prasad said New Zealand was "incredible lucky" to be in it's current position in regards to Covid-19, and people here didn't realise the damage it had done in other countries.
"People have everything here, but still they're moaning and groaning about issues. It's a real shame.
"There are people who are stuck on the other side of the world, separate from their families. For me, I think they should wait patiently and hopefully good things will happen in time."
Prasad said it was difficult for those in poorer areas of India to support themselves during the pandemic.
"Most people are living hand to mouth.
"If they lock themselves down they could starve to death, and that in itself is another big crisis."
Geeta's Spices and Veggies owner Geeta Singh said she was speaking to her inlaws in India every day via WhatsApp.
"It's heartbreaking looking at the news," Singh said.
"The hospital system wasn't that good before Covid, so just think about it now.
"Poverty is another thing to deal with. People who have got things are all right, but think about those that on the street, and there are many over there."
Singh said New Zealanders had respected the rules around Covid-19 and lockdown, but some in India hadn't at all.
"They don't want to listen, it's like 'who cares?'.
"All we can say from here is be safe and don't go anywhere unnecessary."
Castlecliff Foursquare owner Vivek Bangia managed to get his parents flights from India to New Zealand about nine months ago, and they have been in Whanganui ever since.
Like Singh, Bangia said sections of India's population, including those in political positions, hadn't taken Covid-19 as seriously as they should have.
"They knew there was a pandemic happening in the world, and they were sleeping," Bangia said.
"It's a very costly learning exercise that India is going through at the moment, and I just hope better sense will prevail.
"They will fight out of it, I'm sure of that, but we've got to realise that we're not bulletproof."
Bangia said it was hard for Indian people in New Zealand not to feel helpless about the present situation.
"My best friend, who I studied with, just lost his mother the day before yesterday. He is stuck in England, and she is in India.
"The scale that it's happening over there at the moment is scary. There are the reported numbers of cases, but there will be much more than that.
"It only gets reported once you reach a hospital, but a lot of people don't even get there."
His father, a retired army colonel, had hundreds of friends at risk in India, Bangia said.
"Every second or third day I hear that he's lost one of them, or someone he knows is getting sick.
"You might hate vaccines and not want to take one for whatever reason, but do it for your country. Take it for your friends and relatives.
"If you don't, we'll never be able to get out of this."