With the daily count of COVID-19 cases surging over 3 lakhs, and citizens experiencing petrifying times due to the lack of hospital facilities, medicines, and oxygen, India is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis.
India’s oxygen crisis is due to the inadequacy of production and transportation facilities. However, it is also facing shortages in the important drugs required for the treatment of the virus, and this is worsened by citizens hoarding the existent quantity in the market through panic buying.
“Hoarding of injections like Remdisvir and oxygen in homes is creating a panic and this hoarding is causing a shortage of these medicines,” said the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Sunday.
With the lack of hospital beds and ventilators Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, in a Washington Post article Saturday said, “India’s health system is on the verge of collapse.”
“At this point medical supplies, oxygen and vaccines are the most important things we need,” says Yamini Aiyar, President of the Centre for Policy Research, a New Delhi think tank. “Multilateral aid will be crucial.”
Thus, with the humanitarian crisis in India gaining international attention, several countries have come forwards and offered their assistance. Let’s have a look.
On Sunday, the first consignment aid left the UK and will most likely arrive in India on Tuesday. This includes 95 oxygen concentrators that have the ability to extract oxygen from the air when hospital oxygen systems have run out as well as 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators.
"We stand side by side with India as a friend and partner during what is a deeply concerning time in the fight against Covid-19," UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.
According to ABC News this morning, Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the US is helping India by providing “oxygen supplies, Covid-19 tests, drug treatments, and personal protective equipment.”
Furthermore, a few days ago the US Ambassador to the UN said the US will “work around the clock” to help India as it fights a “devastating” spike in COVID-19 cases. The Biden administration has pledged to help India by sending across raw materials for vaccines, ventilators, oxygen generation supplies, and financial support for vaccine expansion. Sources also say that the US has also previously provided $5.9 million in Covid-19 relief to India.
"Had a fruitful conversation with Joe Biden today. We discussed the evolving COVID situation in both countries in detail. I thanked President Biden for the support being provided by the United States to India,” PM Modi’s tweet confirmed.
Oxygen, ventilators, and personal protective equipment (PPE) kit will be sent to India by the country as a way to provide immediate support to the crisis.
Russia, whose manufactured vaccine Sputnik V recently gained approval in India for usage, has announced that it would send 3,00,000-4,00,000 units of Remdesivir injection. Further, it plans to provide COVID assistance in the form of oxygen concentrators, generators, and drugs needed to treat the virus.
India’s immediate neighbor is providing ventilators, PPEs, and other relief material to India. “As a gesture of solidarity with the people of India in the wake of the current wave of COVID-19, Pakistan has offered to provide relief support to India including ventilators, Bi-PAP, digital X-ray machines, PPEs, and related items,” a government spokesperson said in an April 25 statement. Furthermore, amidst the deepening situation, the Social welfare organization Edhi Foundation has offered to send 50 ambulances manned by Pakistani health professionals to provide help.
They are awaiting clearance from the PM Modi-led government.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian commented that Beijing is “ready to provide support and help according to India’s need.” Thus, putting the border tensions to rest for a while, China is offering support in this humanitarian crisis.
800 oxygen concentrators have been lifted by Air India from Hong Kong to Delhi. According to a tweet by the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka, 10,000 more oxygen concentrators will arrive in India in a week.
On April 24th, The Indian Air Force picked up four cryogenic oxygen tanks donated by Singapore.
The Arab nation has sent 80 metric tons of liquid oxygen on April 24 via the Indian-owned shipping companies Adani Group and Linde.
Ireland is another country that is extending a helping hand by announcing to provide oxygen concentrators and other medical supplies to India. Brendan Ward, the Irish ambassador stated that Ireland aiming to provide more assistance to India in dealing with the pandemic and is in close contact with the Indian government
"Ireland is sending 700 oxygen concentrators to India to help healthcare workers in providing timely aid to patients. The concentrators are expected to reach India by Wednesday early morning," it said.