Emergency medical assistance is flooding into pandemic-stricken India from all over the globe, as the government tries to deflect criticism about the slow pace at which medicines are being sent to hospitals and states in dire need. Till date, over 20 nations have provided assistance to India, ranging from neighbors to major powers. Hundreds of tonnes, of which more are planned from Israel and other countries in the coming days, have been supplied by dedicated relief aircraft from countries such as the UK, the US, the Member States of the European Union, Taiwan and Uzbekistan.
The Biden administration has pledged to supply materials worth more than $100 million. In the last two weeks, China has also accelerated the manufacture and supply of 40,000 more oxygen generators ordered by India, and 61 cargo flights have flown between the two countries. On the other hand, Singapore dispatched three cryogenic liquid oxygen tanks to India on Saturday.
Help for India’s COVID crisis is being pooled by the international community. As per an estimate, over 3000 tonnes of humanitarian aid has landed in the region till now. For the first time since the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, India is receiving such a wide scale of international humanitarian assistance, emphasizes the severity of the situation.
However, opposition lawmakers slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for the sluggish speed of aid delivery and the lack of clarification on where the relief is heading. Many hard-hit states like Delhi, Rajasthan and Punjab reported receiving no help, while some said much-needed supplies were still hanging in containers.
The central government said in a statement on Tuesday that authorities were working “24 x 7 to fast track and clear the goods on arrival”. It identified 38 institutions in India that had obtained equipment, “All possible efforts are done to unpack, repack and dispatch these [goods] with the least possible turn-around time,” the statement continued.
India has also requested assistance from its armed forces. It is releasing oxygen from the stocks of the armed forces and supplying it to retired medical staff.