Since 2020, the Tzu Chi has worked tirelessly to provide relief for those suffering in India, and their constant effort has redoubled as heartbreaking news of the latest wave of the deadly virus dominated headlines. In just the first five months of 2021, Tzu Chi has already provided relief to seven countries in the region, including India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Laos, and Cambodia, working with 59 organizations in total, providing support to over 330,000 families.
Going forward, the Tzu Chi plans to do even more to help alleviate the suffering in these countries, including an effort to set up and build eight oxygen generator plants, and donate 4,300 oxygen concentrators, 5,670 oxygen tanks, 926 ventilators, 5.36 million surgical masks and 1.91 million pairs of gloves. A total of approximately 8.63 million pieces of medical and personal protective equipment will be sent to India, whose people and medical professionals desperately need such compassionate help.
Among the organizations the Tzu Chi has cooperated with in India to pass out medical and relief supplies is the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC). The head of IBC, Mr. Ashok, has asked Tzu Chi for 2,000 oxygen cylinders, ranging from 40L to 47L.
There is currently a dire shortage of such supplies in India. In order to get them those in need as quickly as possible, the Tzu Chi reached out to Mr. Hou Hongzhe of Shengyao Professional Enterprise Co., who had been introduced to the organization by Dr. Yuling Zhang from IBC Taiwan. Mr. Hou, a kind and charitable philanthropist, generously assisted in this relief effort by putting together a shipment of 600 47L oxygen cylinders in Taiwan. He will also accompany the shipment along with the customs clearance agency to New Delhi, the capital of India, where the oxygen cylinders will be distributed to other cities around the country. The remaining 1,400 40L cylinders will be purchased and shipped from mainland China.
Many volunteers from the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation went to Shengyao to tally and help pack the oxygen tanks, including Pan Jili, Song Minghui, and Huang Jianzhong. Afterwards, the cylinders were taken to the Port of Kaohsiung, where they are scheduled to ship out on June 5 and are expected to arrive in New Delhi on June 22.
After a turbulent 2020 with the COVID-19 coronavirus raging around the world, the first half of 2021 saw many countries breathe a sigh of relief, as more people became vaccinated, and lockdowns began to lift. Even against this optimistic backdrop, however, India and its neighbors have not been as lucky. As of May 24, 2021, the total number of infected cases in the South Asian country reached 26.8 million, and the number of deaths reached 304,000, according to Our World in Data.
Other countries that are similarly suffering from COVID-19 have not been forgotten. Generous donors in Taiwan have donated 72,000 protective suits for Cambodia. One container was packed and readied for shipment last Friday, May 21, in Taoyuan City, while another was packed on May 24 by 36 volunteers in Tainan. One more will be readied on May 25, and the three containers are expected to ship from Taiwan on May 28, with a scheduled arrival in Cambodia on June 3.