An aircraft from Spain carrying urgently needed oxygen cylinders and concentrators, ventilators and rapid antigen tests arrived in Nepal today, following the country’s request for support for EU assistance to help contain its rapid surge in COVID-19 infections.
The shipment, the first of several to follow from EU Member States in the coming days, is facilitated through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, coordinated by the European Commission.
The offers of support from EU Member States currently include:
- Finland: 2.2 million surgical face masks, 350,000 FFP2 masks, 52,500 pairs of vinyl gloves, 30,000 isolation gowns.
- France: 14 ventilators, spare parts for oxygen plants, 20.000 antigen tests, 500.000 KN95 masks.
- Germany: 62 ventilators, 27,500 FFP2 masks, 30,000 surgical masks, 200 body bags, 5 isolation centre tents, , 400 gum boots
- Spain: 50 oxygen cylinders, 10 oxygen concentrators, 15 ventilators, 124,800 rapid antigen tests, 144,000 FFP2 masks.
- Belgium: 1 million surgical masks, 2,000 nasal oxygen cannulas.
In addition, the flight delivering Spanish assistance that landed in Kathmandu today will depart on Friday 21 May, repatriating Spanish and other EU citizens upon return.
Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management said: “The COVID-19 surge in Nepal is claiming more lives every minute as it spreads across the country. We stand in full solidarity with Nepal in its fight against the pandemic. I am very thankful to Finland, Spain, France, Germany and Belgium for their quick and generous offers of assistance via our Civil Protection Mechanism, showing that the EU is a trusted partner and friend in times of need. We are also quickly mobilising emergency support with an initial €2 million. We stand ready to provide further assistance.”
The initial €2 million will support the monitoring of all home isolated cases through tele-health/tele-medicine services and rapid referral to hospitals, as well as national emergency medical teams deployment and the mobilisation of international emergency medical teams. The funding will also procure key COVID-19 equipment and supplies in Nepal, including oxygen equipment (including oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators), personal protection equipment, home care kits and diagnostics equipment.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism strengthens cooperation between the EU Member States and 6 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% 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. The Centre monitors events around the globe 24/7 and ensures rapid deployment of emergency support through a direct link with national civil protection authorities. In 2020, the Mechanism was activated more than 90 times. For example, to respond to the coronavirus pandemic; the explosion in Beirut in Lebanon; floods in Ukraine, Niger and Sudan; the earthquake in Croatia; and tropical cyclones in Latin America and Asia.