‘Mobilising aid’: EU, Germany on support for India’s Covid-19 response
The European Union (EU) and Germany said on Sunday they were mobilising aid to support India’s Covid-19 response following a huge surge in Coronavirus infections that has stretched medical facilities across the country and resulted in shortages of oxygen.
Janez Lenarčič, the EU commissioner for crisis management, said the bloc’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) was coordinating with member states to provide oxygen and medicines.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had caused a stir in New Delhi last week with her criticism of the slowdown of vaccine exports from India, expressed solidarity in the “common fight” against Covid-19 and said her country was preparing a “mission of support”.
India recorded more than 300,000 Covid-19 cases for the fourth straight day on Sunday. The health ministry said 349,691 fresh infections were detected across the country since Saturday, taking the infection tally to nearly 17 million. The death toll crossed 192,000.
Lenarčič, who is responsible for EU’s humanitarian aid and is the European emergency response coordinator, said the support was being provided in response to a request from India.
“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 tweeted.
“Our #ERCC is already coordinating [with] EU [member states] that are ready to provide urgently needed #oxygen & medicine rapidly,” he said.
EU envoy Ugo Astuto said on Twitter the bloc’s member states will do their utmost to support India “in this difficult moment”.
German ambassador Walter Lindner posted a message from Merkel on Twitter outlining the plans for supporting India.
“To the people of India I want to express my sympathy on the terrible suffering that Covid-19 has again brought over your communities. The fight against the pandemic is our common fight. Germany stands in solidarity with India and is urgently preparing a mission of support,” Merkel said in her message.
Linder too extended sympathy to the people of India on the “terrible suffering” and conveyed his solidarity.
People familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity that details of aid to be provided by both EU and Germany were in the final stages of being worked out and a clearer picture would be available by Monday.
Since Saturday, Indian military aircraft and ships have been used to transport special oxygen tanks, cylinders and liquid oxygen from countries such as Singapore and Saudi Arabia.