Ready to do utmost to support India in this critical time, says EU

Following the UK, the US and Australia, the European Union has also come forward with a mega plan to extend medical aid to India in view of the nation-wide crisis triggered by the raging second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Accordingly, a shipment of urgently needed oxygen, medicines and equipment will be delivered over the coming days by the EU member states to India.

As per an official statement issued by the EU, India had placed a request for support through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which is coordinated by the Emergency Response Coordination Centre of the European Commission.

Several EU member states have pledged their support with Ireland sending 700 oxygen concentrators, one oxygen generator and 365 ventilators; Belgium sending 9,000 doses of antiviral medicine Remdesivir; Romania sending 80 oxygen concentrators and 75 oxygen cylinders; Luxembourg sending 58 ventilators; Portugal sending 5,503 vials of Remdesivir and 20,000 litres of oxygen per week and Sweden sending 120 ventilators.

This support has been extended in line with the coordinated effort of the EU member states currently underway to pool their resources in responding rapidly to tackle the alarming epidemiological situation in India, the statement said.

More EU support from other member states is expected to be come in the coming days, including from France and Germany.

Janez Lenarcic, European Commissioner for Crisis Management, said, “The EU stands in full solidarity with the Indian people and is ready to do its utmost to support them at this critical time. I would like to thank our member states that came in numerously with generous offers of help, showing that the EU is a trusted partner and a friend at times of need.

“The reach of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism goes well beyond the EU’s borders. Our Emergency Response Coordination Centre is facilitating the logistical arrangements and the EU will cover the brunt of the transport costs.”

The objective of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism is to strengthen cooperation between the EU member states and six participating states in the field of civil protection, with a view to improve prevention, preparedness and response to disasters.

When the scale of an emergency overwhelms the response capabilities of a country, it can request assistance via the Mechanism.

Through the Mechanism, the European Commission plays a key role in coordinating the response to disasters in Europe and beyond and contributes to at least 75 per cent of the transport and/or operational costs of deployments.

Following a request for assistance through the Mechanism, the Emergency Response Coordination Centre mobilises assistance or expertise.

Any country in the world, including the United Nations and its agencies or a relevant international organisation, can call on the EU Civil Protection Mechanism for help. In 2020, the Mechanism was activated more than 90 times.