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Australia must step up for our neighbour

Media Release
Janet Rice 30 Apr 2021

Greens MPs today are calling on the Federal Government to step up and redouble its efforts for the people of India and provide much needed assistance as the country battles millions of current cases. 

India is currently facing a tragic second wave of COVID19 with a record 349,691 new cases on Sunday and 2,767 deaths. Hospitals are running out of medical supplies including oxygen and basic medicines, there aren’t enough hospital beds or ventilators. Cremation and burial sites are over capacity for the first time in recent memory. 

Australia has announced it will send oxygen, ventilators and personal protective equipment to India as part of an immediate support package. 

The Australian Government must engage with the Indian diaspora in Australia to continue to assess ongoing needs and ensure relief is comprehensive, sustained and delivered with utmost transparency.

The following list of urgent needs has been provided by Mercy Mission (MM) which is a coalition of NGOs based in Bengaluru that has come together to fight COVID.

  1. Liquid Oxygen Cylinders and Jumbo cylinders which can be used by hospitals to increase procurement and use as demand has increased 4 to 5 fold and there is low transport and storage capacity at hospitals. As per reports, there is adequate generation capacity of Oxygen in industries, but the supply chain and transport / storage equipment is inadequate which will help immediately ease the situation.
  2. Oxygen Concentrators of capacity 5L to 10L per min, which can be used by individuals in their homes.
  3. Oxygen generating plants of sizes of 1KL that can be installed at individual hospitals and related equipment to build/ install the same.
  4. Ventilators (invasive and non-invasive) and HFNC (High flow nasal cannula) machines that can be distributed to small hospitals to address critical patients.
  5. At this moment, there is a shortage of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab medicines, which are being prescribed by doctors for moderate/ severe patients resulting in high demand.       

Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens Foreign Affairs spokesperson, said

“We in Australia are in the unique situation of having COVID-19 well under control, and we should use this opportunity to help others. 

“I’ve worked closely with groups from the Indian diaspora in Australia and they’re so distressed about what’s happening there and are calling on Australia to step up. 


NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge said

“Australia talks big about the relationship with India when it comes to trade, this needs to extend to providing support when it is so desperately needed. 

“In recognition of the risk of the crisis there, the Government has acted to limit arrivals from India but this must be balanced with a hand outstretched to help. 

“Our assistance with oxygen, ventilators and medication right now could save thousands of lives, communities here deserve to know we have done what we can,” Mr Shoebridge said.  

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