KATHMANDU: The Australian government has flown medical supplies worth 1.8 million Australian Dollar to Nepal to help the country combat COVID-19 as it is struggling with acute shortages of hospital beds, medication and oxygen for patients.
The aid was handed over to the Chief of General Staff of Nepali Army, Lt Gen Prabhu Ram Sharma, by Australia's Ambassador to Nepal Felicity Volk at Kathmandu airport on Saturday.
The consignment includes supplies like surgical masks, face shields and gloves, requested by the Nepal Army and donated by the Western Australian Government, according to a press release issued by Australian Embassy.
The delivery to Nepal was part of Australia's regional effort to support its friends in South Asia, with medical supplies provided to Sri Lanka and India in addition to Nepal, said Ambassador Volk.
In its statement, the Australian Embassy stressed on the important role played by the Nepali Army in delivering frontline health services to communities across the country.
"Australia has directed its supplies to support the work of the Army in hospitals, isolation centres and cremation grounds."
"Australia is joining with partners across the region to support urgent healthcare needs, including through the provision of PPE to protect those working on the frontlines of the health response.
Australia and Nepal have a long-standing history of working together in times of crisis, and the assistance provided through today's flight demonstrates the warmth that Australians have for the people of Nepal," the embassy said.
Earlier on May 21, Australia had committed to providing an additional AUD 7 million equivalent to NRs 635 million in funding to support Nepal's response to COVID-19 and the recent support is in addition to the AUD 7 million announced earlier.
Nepal has been appealing for help from the international community as the COVID-19 situation has worsened in the country.
Nepal's COVID-19 caseload jumped close to 600,000 on Saturday as 5,042 more people have been infected with coronavirus.