US congresswoman urges Biden to support India more; Sewa International extends support
Relatives mourn as ambulance staff wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) carry the body of a Covid-19 coronavirus victim for a funeral at a crematorium in New Delhi on May 11, 2021. (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
A US congresswoman has urged president Joe Biden to send more direct support to India which is battling a deadly Covid-19 second wave.
Haley Stevens has asked the White House to increase shipments of oxygen cylinders, Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and ventilators to Indian hospitals.
She also thanked Biden for providing more than $100 million in support to India.
India’s daily coronavirus cases rose by 329,942, while deaths from the disease rose by 3,876, according to the health ministry. The total infections are now at 22.99 million, while total fatalities rose to 249,992.
India leads the world in the daily average number of new deaths reported, accounting for one in every three deaths reported worldwide each day.
The seven-day average of new cases is at a record high of 390,995.
“This past week India registered over 400,000 daily cases. On May 4, there were 3,786 deaths, bringing the total to 226,188 fatalities. The sharp increase in cases has severely strained the healthcare system, overwhelming hospitals, and depleting oxygen supplies. India is in great need of oxygen, therapeutics, and vaccines,” Stevens said in a letter to Biden on Monday (10).
“I urge you to provide the following items: Oxygen Cylinders, 10 liters and 45 liters Liquid Medical Oxygen Capacity; Oxygen Concentrator; Oxygen Generator Plants; Remdesivir; Tocilizumab, Ventilators/BiPAP.”
“As long as Covid persists in India, there is the potential for additional variants that could pose a serious threat to a vaccinated America. We must do our part to quell the virus everywhere it persists,” she urged.
Sewa International extends help
Non-profit organisation Sewa International said that it has spent over $6m to procure lifesaving equipment in the last two weeks as part of its ‘Help India Defeat Covid-19′ campaign.
The equipment shipped to India from New York on May 7 included 260 oxygen concentrators, 1,000 oximeters and nine Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure machines, it said in a statement.
MedShare, a non-profit organisation that sources and delivers surplus medical supplies and equipment to communities in need, donated the concentrators.
The United Parcel Service Foundation partnered with Sewa International to ship them to New Delhi by air for free.
Sewa has so far raised $16m for the initiative to supply aid material to India. It raised $7.7m from over 104,000 donors from its Facebook campaign and $4.2m through its website.
So far, the organisation has spent over $3.5m to order 7,482 oxygen concentrators and procured 5,118 of them from various vendors in the US and elsewhere, it said.
The organisation is planning to ship more than 6,000 oxygen concentrators to India in the next two weeks.
“Shipping large quantities of medical equipment to another country from the US has a lot of logistical challenges. We are optimising our shipments so that they reach India fast,” Sewa’s president Arun Kankani said.
“We have received phenomenal support from across the US for our ‘Help India Defeat Covid-19 Campaign’. Many corporates, hospitals and community organisations are calling us to offer help. Sewa volunteers are working hard to connect the dots.”
It has established a control room in Atlanta and it is managed by 10 volunteers.
Sewa’s vice president for disaster recovery Swadesh Katoch, said: “It’s very important to save every life and I am confident that the equipment we have sent to India will ease the shortage of emergency equipment and help Covid-19 patients recover and enable families to protect their loved ones.”