Kuala Lumpur/Delhi/Geneva, 28 April – The terrible toll of death and illness unfolding in India reinforces that this pandemic is far from over. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) urges the whole world to unify and provide vaccines for everyone, while upholding public health measures, in order to stem the transmissions of COVID-19.

The Indian Red Cross, with the support of the IFRC, is working alongside authorities to help the people of India with lifesaving medical equipment including oxygen cylinders, ventilators, anti-viral drugs, blood services, testing and vaccinations.

Secretary General of Indian Red Cross, Mr Shri. R.K. Jain said:

“It is a fact that everyone is at risk and precautions must be ensured to protect every individual. I have the first-hand experience of this as I am recovering from COVID -19. This terrible virus is claiming many lives and affecting livelihoods, businesses and all sectors of life. However, it will not dampen our spirit to fight back and help each other in this hour of great need. 

“Indian Red Cross through it’s more than 1,100 field branches and network of thousands of dedicated staff and volunteers, is providing humanitarian services in close coordination with their respective local government authorities, including ambulance and blood services.  

“We are overwhelmed with the incredible kindness and generosity from all domestic and international donors including national governments and individuals throughout the world. This support comes at a critical time when India fights back against the pandemic with all its resources.” 

Prior to the latest record surge of COVID-19, India had one of the fastest and highest vaccination rates in Asia. Yet while some of the world’s richest countries have fully immunized over one in four people, just 1 out of 66 Indians have received both COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Thousands of Indian Red Cross volunteers and hundreds of health teams are helping run quarantine centres, providing oxygen cylinders to people with severe COVID-19 symptoms and stepping up vaccinations, while also providing free masks, soap and gloves to those most at risk.

Udaya Regmi, IFRC’s Head of South Asia Delegation said:

“This is beyond the saddest of tragedies for India. With COVID-19 infections now at their highest rates since the pandemic started, it’s clear the world is entering a critical phase of this pandemic, our work cannot and will not stop. The IFRC is coordinating with the Indian Red Cross to supply oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, and other crucial medical supplies, including anti-viral drugs for COVID-19 treatment. 

“Just as nations are stepping up to help India, we must unite and redouble global efforts to make sure COVID-19 vaccinations are available to every adult in all countries. This is both an ethical and public health imperative. As variants keep spreading, this pandemic is far from over until the whole world is safe.” 

The IFRC is still seeking vital funding for its global emergency COVID-19 appeal, with only around 50% of the appeal being covered so far. The funds are crucial to continue to support the lifesaving actions of the IFRC and member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world.

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Media contacts

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:  

In Kuala Lumpur:
Antony Balmain, +60-12-230-8451,
antony.balmain@ifrc.org

In Geneva:
Ann Vaessen, +41 79 405 77 50,
ann.vaessen@ifrc.org

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