The US government is making all the efforts to help India in this hour of crisis, a senior State Department official has said. In the last one week, six air shipments of vital assistance have landed in India, which is battling the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Senior Advisor Ervin Massinga from the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs said on Friday.
These flights included health supplies such as oxygen concentrators, N95 masks, rapid diagnostic tests and medicines. US assistance is expected to be about USD 100 million, he said. “The entire US government from President Biden to our team at the Embassy and consulates on the ground is doing everything we can to help India,” Massinga said during an event called ‘Bolstering US COVID Relief Efforts in India: Perspectives from the Diaspora’.
“We are bringing to bear the strength, innovation, and unique capabilities of the American people to assist those suffering in India. And we recognise that the pandemic will not be over for anyone until it is over for everyone, he said. Massinga referred to the recent remarks of US President Joe Biden when he told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his government will do everything possible to help India at this time.
Biden’s discussion with Modi last week marks their fourth conversation in the administration’s first 100 days. Secretary of State Tony Blinken and other senior Department officials have also been regularly engaged with their Indian counterparts to address the most recent coronavirus wave, Massinga said.
“In my 26 years with the Department of State, I have never seen such an outpouring of personal and institutional generosity as we have experienced from the Americans of all backgrounds in the last month. The level of focus and dedication from private sector, civil society and community-based organisations, including contributions from Indian-Americans, has contributed to ensuring much needed supplies and resources get to those most in need, he said.
USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Asia Anjali Kaur said the whole-of-US government response has been immediate, targeted to India’s evolving needs and informed by nonstop consultations with their Indian counterparts and a multitude of other stakeholders.
Kaur said the US has mobilised its partners in India to immediately expand existing programs to meet urgent needs. “For instance, as hospitals across the country ran out of oxygen and related supplies, within days of receiving a request from the Government of India, the USAID quickly mobilised funding to purchase 1,000 oxygen concentrators. These life-saving units, with a lifespan of more than five years, will provide oxygen to hundreds of primary health care facilities, she said.
“The USAID is also supporting the Government of India’s efforts to establish 150 Pressure Swing Adsorption oxygen generating plants, which will allow 150 healthcare facilities to generate their own oxygen, rather than rely on oxygen deliveries, she added The USAID, she said, has received an overwhelming response from both US and Indian companies, as well as the Indian diaspora. Even individual states, such as California, have responded by partnering with USAID to facilitate a donation of life-saving oxygen supplies, Kaur said.