The Australian Government has delivered medical supplies to India, Nepal and Sri Lanka as part of its efforts to assist nations in the Indo-Pacific region with Covid-related health and humanitarian challenges.
An Australian Defence Force C-17A Globemaster aircraft departed Perth on Friday, carrying oxygen equipment for India and personal protective equipment (PPE) for Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Nineteen of India’s 36 states and union territories have already received Australian medical supplies from previous deliveries, including 3,000 ventilators and 250 oxygen concentrators. These form part of Australia’s $37.1-million package of support for India.
Eight-tonne oxygen container among the air freight
Working in partnership with the Indian Government, the Indian Red Cross Society and local authorities are distributing the supplies to those most in need.
The C-17A Globemaster also transported an eight-tonne oxygen tank the size of a shipping container, which was purchased by Indian firm Tata Steel to store and transport medical oxygen in bulk. This follows the Indian Air Force’s successful humanitarian airlift of other oxygen tanks from Australia in May.
The PPE, which was donated by the Western Australian Government to Nepal and Sri Lanka, will provide essential support to frontline workers.
Australia’s Federal Government has already committed $7-million for emergency relief to Nepal, with this support to be delivered to those most in need by trusted on-the-ground partners. It has also contributed $5.5-million for emergency relief in Sri Lanka as it faces its own Covid challenges.
Airport in Sri Lanka is being used as a delivery hub
“The Australian Government welcomes the close cooperation with the Sri Lankan Government to allow Mattala airport [in Sri Lanka] to be used as the hub for the delivery and distribution of these Covid-19 support supplies to the other countries,” said foreign affairs minister Marise Payne.
“Just as India provided vaccines to the Pacific – including through COVAX (the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access initiate founded by the WHO and others) – Australia is supporting India and its neighbours.
“Australia continues to work in partnership with our neighbours in the Indo-Pacific to support our shared regional recovery from the pandemic and to protect lives and livelihood,” Payne said.