With cases poised to reach over 400,000 per day, a COVID-19 crisis has engulfed India. Death tolls are rising, and hospitals are overwhelmed. This is a humanitarian disaster that the global community must avert. Thankfully, India’s friends in the West are taking notice during the countries great time of need.
The British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Rabb, has announced that the UK is shipping hundreds of ventilators and oxygen equipment to India. This is a good start. But, the harrowing scenes in Indian hospitals and cities mean that the stricken Republic will need further aid.
The UK’s Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) will receive help from 14 UK aid charities to provide equipment and assistance. Medical supplies, logistics, treatment facilities and more will compromise the response to help India’s most vulnerable citizens.
UK-based Indians have also come out in force to help. The British Asian Trust and a separate GoFundMe campaign have seen a massive outpouring of generosity from UK citizens. Both appeals are targetting funds for badly needed oxygen and supplies.
Prince Charles — who founded the British Asian Trust in 2007 — has joined the chorus of appeals. He highlighted how India’s past aid and ingenuity had helped others. With the country currently on its knees, the Prince of Wales has emplored others to return the favour.
Adnan Naseemullah, writing in the Telegraph, makes the compelling point that while much of the talk about aid has centred around providing vaccines, India needs oxygen. He suggests The Royal Air Force’s Hercules transport fleet could deliver these items far quicker than the charity sector.
Calls for the US to remove export controls on raw materials required for vaccines have been heard, with the National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne confirming American help. At the same time, Antony Fauci has reversed course on the US’s pledge to restrict vaccine’s as foreign aid in light of the Indian crisis.
The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) is working with India to explore the idea of sending some of its AstraZeneca stockpiles. The US Food and Drug Administration has yet to allow emergency use for these vaccines in the US. However, with tens of millions on hand, these vaccines could prove crucial in India’s battle against the pandemic.
In response to the crisis, the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated. Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen is coordinating oxygen and medicine from member states. Additionally, Germany is airlifting ventilators and also mobile stations to make much-needed oxygen.
As India battles the coronavirus, allies in the West have reached out. The country has suffered more than 200,000 deaths, and with cases still rising, so to will that number. Continued urgent aid and cooperation is needed to avert a disaster that threathens to shake the Republic to its core.