Melbourne/Wellington, April 28: New Zealand will give 1 million NZ dollars (about USD 7,20,365) to the Red Cross to assist India as it grapples with a COVID-19 surge, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced on Wednesday.
The assistance was announced as India saw a record single-day rise of 3,60,960 coronavirus cases, which pushed the total tally to 1,79,97,267, while the death toll crossed two lakh following 3,293 fresh fatalities,
"We stand in solidarity with India at this difficult time, and commend the tireless efforts of India's frontline medics and healthcare workers who are working hard to save lives," said Mahuta.
"Aotearoa will contribute NZ $1 million to the International Federation of the Red Cross to assist India while they respond to the current surge in COVID-19 cases," The New Zealand Herald quoted her as saying.
Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand.
The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) is working directly with the local Indian Red Cross Society to provide oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, and other crucial medical supplies.
The IFRC is also looking at scaling up emergency operations across India by providing an intensified ambulance and blood service and distributing personal protective equipment and hygiene kits to communities in need.
"We believe a contribution to an international organisation that has a reputation for delivery is the most practical assistance we can make to India at this time," said Mahuta.
"We will continue to monitor the situation and stand ready to assist the Indian government. We extend our deepest sympathies to the whanau (Maori-language word for extended family) and friends of those who have had their lives cut short by this terrible virus," she said.
New Zealand earlier this month had imposed a temporary ban on travellers coming from India, including its citizens, from April 11 to 28 due to a surge in COVID-19 cases among visitors to this country. - PTI