EU to respond rapidly to India's request for help

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New Delhi, Apr 25 (PTI) The European Union on Sunday said it is pooling in resources to respond rapidly to help India's fight against the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic.

A senior official of the 27-nation powerful bloc said the European Union (EU) has already activated its Civil Protection Mechanism to mobilise support for India including supplying urgently needed oxygen and medicines.

Under the mechanism, the EU plays a central role in coordinating its responses to emergencies in Europe and beyond.

As India reels under a massive spike in coronavirus cases, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said the EU stands in 'full solidarity' with the people of India.

'Alarmed by the epidemiological situation in India. We are ready to support. The EU is pooling resources to respond rapidly to India's request for assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism,' der Leyen said in a tweet.

EU Ambassador to India Ugo Astuto said the European Union, together with its member states, will do its utmost to support India in this difficult moment.

Janez Lenarcic, European Commissioner for Crisis Management in charge of European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, said the EU's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) is coordinating with member states to provide urgently needed oxygen and medicines to India.

'Upon request for assistance by #India, we have activated the #EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The European Union will do its utmost to mobilise assistance to support people of India,' he tweeted.

'Our #ERCC is already coordinating EU MS that are ready to provide urgently needed #oxygen & medicine rapidly,' he said.

The overall objective of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism is to strengthen cooperation between the member states of the grouping in the field of civil protection.

A joint approach helps to pool capacities and ensures that assistance meets the needs, said an EU official.

In 2020, the mechanism was used more than 90 times, the official said.

India is struggling with the second wave of coronavirus infection and hospitals in several states are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds in view of a rising number of COVID-19 cases. PTI MPB RT RT