The Republic of Ireland is set to donate "vital emergency material" to India as the south Asian nation grapples with a dire second COVID wave.

An emergency donation of vital emergency material, including 700 oxygen concentrators, is being made to India through the European Civil Protection Mechanism, Ireland’s Department of Health said today.

Ireland’s contribution forms part of a coordinated EU response to provide rapid and tangible support and solidarity with India.

The donation is being made from stocks originally purchased by Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE) for use in a field hospital setting, as part of pandemic preparations. These devices draw oxygen from the air and deliver it to the patient at over 90% concentration.

As infections in India have passed more than 17 million, the country's healthcare system is battling a shortage of ICU beds and oxygen. The news of the Irish donation comes the same day that India reported 352,991 new COVID cases and 2,812 virus-related deaths, marking the world's highest daily caseload for the fifth straight day

On Sunday, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his monthly radio address: "I'm speaking to you at a time when Covid-19 is testing our patience and capacity to bear pain. Many of our loved ones have left us in an untimely way.

"After successfully tackling the first wave, the nation's morale was high, it was confident. But this storm has shaken the nation."

Ireland's donation is the culmination of work conducted by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney in conjunction with the HSE.

Minister Donnelly said: "We have all seen the rapidly deteriorating situation in relation to COVID-19 in India.

"I am pleased that Ireland is in a position to make this emergency donation of 700 oxygen concentrators to India. These machines will support frontline healthcare workers in India to deliver care to patients who need it. I am grateful to all those who have been working together over the weekend to make this life-saving donation happen.

"Transportation is being arranged through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism along with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Department of Foreign Affairs through Irish Aid."

Minister O’Brien said today: "This emergency donation is another example of the Irish people’s extraordinary generosity of spirit and clear desire to want to help our international friends.

"I am keenly aware that many people living in Ireland have friends and family in India and are distressed at the very sad scenes we are witnessing there and I hope Government’s rapid response offers them some comfort."

Minister Coveney said today: "Ireland is among the first States to confirm concrete support to India.

"At a time of great difficulty for India, we want to show solidarity with a country and people with whom we have strong historical and modern-day relations. We are glad to provide this support at a time of such need and to be doing so as part of a wider EU response."

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