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Dr Arvin Boolell calls for Relief Fund to help India and Madagascar

 

Labour MP Dr Arvin Boolell has proposed the setting up of a Relief Fund to help India and Madagascar. Dr Boolell posted his message on his Facebook page, stressing that “Mauritian generosity knows no bounds”. He has invited the public and private sectors, along with NGOs to come forward in a national initiative.

His message has received mixed reactions. While the majority of responders agreed with his proposal, a few claimed Mauritius is itself in a difficult situation right now, with many of our citizens in need of help, especially due to recent and ongoing devastating flooding.

One commentator, M.S, suggested that “helping isn’t just monetary” and that Mauritius can provide technical assistance to India, thanks to our experience of ‘neutralising Covid-19 twice’. He proposed sending over to India a team comprising of Hon Jagatpal, Dr Joomaye, Dr Gaud, Dr Gujadhur, Dr Caussy and some of our top frontliners because they have gained enough experience in battling the crisis, as Mauritius ‘has neutralized Covid-19 twice’. However, another commentator, C.T, claims that “India is far more advanced and doesn’t need our planning… and Mauritians are no expert.” However, M.S believes that any help is symbolical and helps bring nation closer.

Many netizens welcomed the idea of helping India as India has helped Mauritius so much, even providing free vaccines to us. India is battling a second wave of the virus which has caught the country by surprise and resulted in thousands of deaths. The international community has been shocked by reports and images emerging from India’s overrun hospitals and cremation sites, while experts believe the death toll could be much higher than the 193,000 the government has reported so far.

Many countries, including India’s political rivals China and Pakistan, have quickly responded to the humanitarian crisis. In a Tweet, Mauritian Prime minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth stated that “Our hearts and prayers go out to the People of India in these dire times. Our thoughts are with PM shri Narendra Modi and his Government in this daunting fight against the Covid-19 virus.”

 

As a solidarity gesture, Mauritius has donated 200 oxygen concentrators to India.

The following countries are mobilizing to send much needed medical equipment, oxygen and other aid.

 

Oxygen tankers being airlifted on IAF plane in Dubai. (PTI Photo)

Australia: Prime minister Scott Morrison says that his government is currently working with India’s to determine how it can assist. The two countries together with the US and Japan, are in a bloc called the Quad, that has pledged to supply a billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine across Asia.

China: Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian says that Beijing is “ready to provide support and help according to India’s need.” Suspending old rivalries, they are currently in talks with Indian health officials.

Germany: Germany sent 23 mobile oxygen generation plants for use in military units tending to Covid-19 patients.

France: French president Emmanuel Macron expressed readiness to support India through the crisis. Speaking on behalf of the EU, European Council president Charles Michel echoed Macron’s offer to help. He says they plan to discuss specifics during the India-EU Summit in Brussels on May 8.

Pakistan: The Pakistani government is sending medical equipment to its arch-rival. “As a gesture of solidarity with the people of India in the wake of the current wave of COVID-19, Pakistan has offered to provide relief support to India including ventilators, Bi PAP, digital X ray machines, PPEs, and related items,” a government spokesperson said in a statement. Social welfare organization Edhi Foundation is also ready to send a fleet of 50 ambulances manned by Pakistani health professionals to help in India’s pandemic response. They are awaiting clearance from the Modi government.

Saudi Arabia: The Saudi government sent 80 metric tons of liquid oxygen on April 24 via the Indian-owned shipping companies Adani Group and Linde. The first tanks are headed to the port of Mundra.

Singapore: The Indian Air Force picked up four cryogenic oxygen tanks donated by Singapore on April 24.

UK: The UK rushed 140 ventilators and 495 oxygen generators to Delhi, according to the Guardian. Additional aid in the coming weeks is expected. Prime minister Boris Johnson said that he’s “determined to make sure that the UK does everything it can to support the international community in the global fight against pandemic.”

US: Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the US is mulling sending “oxygen supplies, Covid-19 tests, drug treatments, and personal protective equipment.” Health experts are also pushing the US to lift the ban on raw materials for vaccine production and redirect its stockpile of AstraZeneca doses to India. Bloomberg reports that the Biden administration is sitting on 20 million doses of the Oxford University developed drug, which has yet to be approved by health regulators. The US has also previously provided $5.9 million in Covid-19 relief to India.

Other countries sending aid to India include Ireland, Belgium, Romania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Sweden, Bhutan, Hong Kong , Thailand and UAE.

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