USAID Administrator reviews COVID-19 aid to India; holds talks with Indian envoy

Power, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, met USAID's COVID-19 Task Force to discuss America's global relief efforts.

Published: 04th May 2021 01:19 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2021 01:19 PM   |  A+A-

Newly-appointed USAID Administrator Samantha Power

Newly-appointed USAID Administrator Samantha Power. (Photo| AP)


WASHINGTON: USAID Administrator Samantha Power, soon after being sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris, reviewed the ongoing COVID-19 assistance to India and held a virtual meeting with the country's Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu, reaffirming that America will work tirelessly to support the people of India in its fight against the deadly contagion.

Power engaged directly with teams facing down the global COVID-19 pandemic, with a specific focus on the current devastating outbreak in India, according to a statement by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), an independent agency of the US federal government primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid and development assistance.

Power, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, met USAID's COVID-19 Task Force to discuss America's global relief efforts.

Task Force Executive Director Jeremy Konyndyk and staff briefed her on the status of the US government's deployment of supplies to India, including six planes filled with oxygen supplies, N95 masks, rapid diagnostic tests and medicine.

During the meeting, she reaffirmed that the US will continue to work around the clock to provide support and assistance to its partners in India, and highlighted newly-released guidance, which will make it easier for teams in the field to secure lifesaving Personal Protestive Equipment.

Power also spoke with USAID's Mission in New Delhi for a briefing on the mission's work to assist the Indian people, as well as the effect of the pandemic on mission staff and their families. She also expressed deepest sympathies and support to the mission staff and their loved ones; some of whom have lost their family members to the virus or are themselves gravely ill.

Power, during the day, met virtually with India's US Ambassador Sandhu, who had attended the send-off of USAID supplies from Dulles Airport on Friday. During the meeting, she reaffirmed that the US will work tirelessly to support the people of India, and again sent heartfelt condolences from the American people, USAID said in a statement.

Later, Power held a virtual meeting with Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. They discussed at length how USAID could support the Alliance's critical efforts to increase global COVID-19 vaccine access and deployment to 92 low- and middle-income countries through the COVAX Facility.

USAID oversees and administers all US Government funding to Gavi, including a recent USD 2 billion contribution out of a total planned USD 4 billion, according to a statement. India is struggling with an unprecedented second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days.

According to Indian health ministry data on Tuesday, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases crossed the 2-crore mark with 3,57,229 infections being reported in a day, while the death toll increased to 2,22,408 with 3,449 new fatalities.

The total tally of COVID-19 cases in the country has climbed to 2,02,82,833, it said.


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