Washington, DC – The United States is providing plane loads of assistance to India as it unsuccessfully struggles to keep the exponential growth in COVID cases under control but there is still no ground level clarity on the distribution system adopted by Delhi.
Answering a question from IAT, Principal Deputy Spokesperson Jalina Porter reiterated during the daily State Department briefing, “The United States has provided more than $100 million in assistance to India through the U.S. Agency for International Development.”
On the question of distribution channels in India, Porter explained: “Now, when it comes to distribution, it was actually at the request of the Government of India that USAID provided these urgently needed supplies to the Indian Red Cross, and that was just to ensure that they’re reaching those who are most in need and as fast as possible.”
For more details of the distribution system, she referred to the Indian government: “So for anything beyond that, we’d have to refer you to the Government of India.”
Earlier, summing up the aid being sent to India, Jen Psaki, the White House Spokesperson gave an update to the journalists at her daily briefing: “I know we’ve provided a few of those, but I don’t think we’ve done a substantive one here on what has happened or — or what the recent shipments have been.
So six air shipments, funded by USAID, have departed the United States, five of which have already arrived in India. These flights include health supplies: oxygen and oxygen supplies, N95 masks, rapid diagnostic tests, and medicine. And these are a lot of the components that the Indian government has expressed a vital need for. More flights are on the way, with total assistance expected to exceed $100 million.”
At the request of the government of India, USAID provided these urgently needed supplies to the Indian Red Cross to ensure they reach those most in need as quickly as possible.”
In terms of oxygen support, which as you all know is a big component of what they need right now — we’re talking about oxygen cylinders. So USAID delivered approximately 1,500 cylinders that will remain in India and can repeatedly be refilled at local supply centers, with more planeloads to come.”
Oxygen concentrators — USAID has sent approximately 550 oxygen concentrators to obtain oxygen from ambient air. And USAID has also delivered a large-scale unit to support up to 20 patients each of an oxygen generation unit.”
We’ve also sent 2.5 million N95 masks, and we have an additional 12.5 million N95 masks available should that request come from the Indian government.”
And we’ve directed our own order of AstraZeneca manufacturing supplies to India, allowing India to make over 20 million doses.”
We’ve also provided 1 million rapid diagnostic tests. And this weekend — this past weekend, USAID delivered 20,000 treatment courses of the anti-viral dug [drug] remdesivir to help treat hospitalized patients.”
And we’re also working — one of the questions that’s come up is about assistance and know-how. And CDC experts will work in close coordination with India’s public health experts in the following areas: laboratory surveillance and epitdemeo- — epidemiology — I’m not a medical expert; emergency response and operations development; bioinformatics for genomic sequencing and modeling.”
So we are in close touch. That’s a summary of what we’ve done just over the last several days. And we’re working to meet the immediate needs they have now, even as we consider, you know, when we have AstraZeneca doses available, what can happen there.”