Nation shaken, says PM; US, UK, EU pledge help on vaccines to oxygen

Author : xhjtdjkbdahivdgbc
Publish Date : 2021-04-26 01:37:44
Nation shaken, says PM; US, UK, EU pledge help on vaccines to oxygen

Nation shaken, says PM; US, UK, EU pledge help on vaccines to oxygen

From vaccines to its ingredients, oxygen tankers to oxygen concentrators — US, UK and EU pledged help to India.

With the Covid-19 surge crippling the country’s healthcare system, United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan called up his counterpart NSA Ajit Doval Sunday and conveyed to him that “just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need”.

From vaccines to its ingredients, oxygen tankers to oxygen concentrators — US, UK and EU pledged help to India. This comes the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Mann ki Baat radio address, said that the Covid storm had “shaken” the country and was “testing our patience.”

More than 600 pieces of vital medical equipment will be sent to India to support the country in its fight against Covid-19, the UK Government said

“The United States has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India,” a White House statement said, after the Sullivan-Doval call.

“To help treat Covid- 19 patients and protect front-line health workers in India, the United States has identified supplies of therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that will immediately be made available for India. The United States also is pursuing options to provide oxygen generation and related supplies on an urgent basis,” it said.

According to the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), an industry-led think tank and lobby group, “India will soon receive at least a dozen ISO containers that will help transport oxygen within the country. These containers are being shipped or airlifted from different parts of Asia. Another dozen containers have already been identified for shipment to India and efforts are on to triple this number.”

“Members are working on airlifting oxygen cylinders into Delhi and a few other states that face shortage of oxygen supply,” USISPF said.

Through generous donations of its member companies, USISPF has placed orders to source 1 lakh portable oxygen concentrators for use at home and hospitals to be shipped to India immediately. USISPF is already in touch with manufacturers in US, Mexico, Malaysia and China. Sourcing of these concentrators is a challenge due to supply side constraints.

“India will soon also receive a significant shipment of vaccine directly from pharmaceutical companies,” it said.

The USISPF has approached companies in the US to supply and/or donate ICU beds, Covid-Test kits, N-95 Masks and other medical equipment. “We expect the shipments to begin as early as Tuesday/Wednesday of the coming week”, it said.

The US Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is funding a substantial expansion of manufacturing capability for BioE, the vaccine manufacturer in India, enabling BioE to ramp up to produce at least 1 billion doses of vaccines by the end of 2022.

Additionally, the United States is deploying an expert team of public health advisors from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and USAID to work in close collaboration with the US Embassy, India’s health ministries, and India’s Epidemic Intelligence Service staff. USAID will also quickly work with CDC to support and fast-track the mobilization of emergency resources available to India through the Global Fund.

From the UK, nine airline container loads of supplies, including 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators, will be sent to the country this week.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Vital medical equipment, including hundreds of oxygen concentrators and ventilators, is now on its way from the UK to India to support efforts to prevent the tragic loss of life from this terrible virus.”

Earlier in the day, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted: “Our hearts go out to the Indian people in the midst of the horrific COVID-19 outbreak. We are working closely with our partners in the Indian government, and we will rapidly deploy additional support to the people of India and India’s health care heroes,”

Indian ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu thanked both Blinken and Sullivan for their “reach out and support”.

The EU commissioner for crisis management, Janez Lenarcic, said that the 27-nation bloc will do its utmost to mobilise assistance to support people of India. Lenarcic, the European Emergency Response Coordinator, said, “Upon request for assistance by India, we have activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The EU will do its utmost to mobilise assistance to support people of India.”

He said the bloc is already coordinating and is ready to provide “urgently needed oxygen & medicine rapidly”.

Meanwhile, the union’s ambassador to India Ugo Astuto said that the EU, along with member countries, will do its “utmost to support India in this difficult moment”.

A top Canada Foreign Ministry official said that they are also mobilising resources to help India. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also expressed solidarity with India and said that “global cooperation is imperative to end this global tragedy”.

The residents of the mining villages of Raniganj are all too familiar with this soot emanating from the Sonpur Bazaari mine. For decades, it has covered their broken roads, flown into their cracked homes, and seeped into their lungs and bodies.

Cycling home from work, Sajjan Chakraborty pauses next to a board welcoming one to the Sonpur Bazaari open-cast coal mine in West Bengal’s Raniganj. He removes the cloth wrapped around his face to wipe off his sweat. A layer of black soot appears on his finger.

“This cloth you see across my face is not because of corona. For years, we have to do this to protect ourselves from the coal dust. The corona hell has only come now. For people that live here, it has always been hell,” says the carpenter.

The residents of the mining villages of Raniganj are all too familiar with this soot emanating from the Sonpur Bazaari mine. For decades, it has covered their broken roads, flown into their cracked homes, and seeped into their lungs and bodies.

Run by the Eastern Coalfields and approved in 1995, this mine has been the subject of multiple protests—acquisition of land, alleged non-delivery of promises of development, rehabilitation. Little has come of these protests.

In Bazaari village, Saikat Bose says the residents’ worst fears have come true. “Look at the rest of Bengal or the country. Roads are being built, there is development. That development comes on the back of our villages, and we get nothing. Our roads are damaged, our homes are always dirty, and there is absolutely nothing here. The food we eat and water we drink has coal in it. We feared this, and protested but nothing happened. Now it is our fate.”

On April 26, the constituencies around the mine—Jamuria, and Pandabeswar—will go to the polls as part of the seventh and penultimate phase of the West Bengal assembly elections. But years of struggle have ensured that the residents have lost consonance with the electoral process.

“The Eastern Coalfields are run by the Centre and our battle has always been with them. For seven years, the BJP has been at the centre but nothing has changed in the way they treat us. The Left allowed for this to happen, and the TMC has done nothing substantial too. Who is there to trust?,” Bose said. This lack of trust is a common refrain.

There is evidence of the impending elections in the dusty lanes—flags of the TMC, BJP and the Left stuck on homes and posters on walls, next to political graffiti. There are also signs of some last-minute work to woo voters. Right next to a broken road and a malfunctioning hand-pump is freshly-painted blue and white tiled wall, with photographs of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on it. Protruding from the wall are five taps.

“I am glad that they are here. But do you see how we live? We still need clean water. When the mine rumbles, the earth shakes, and our homes have cracks and parts of them keep falling off. Even the roads separate sometimes because of the mining. We can’t farm, and all our men have become menial workers. Nobody fixes our lives,” said Savitri Thakur from Bhatmura village.

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Category : world

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