Singapore Red Cross raises over $3.2 million in 2 weeks for India's Covid-19 fight

The public appeal saw organisations and individuals contributing towards SRC's efforts. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - An outpouring of support in the last two weeks has seen the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) raise over $3.2 million to help India in its Covid-19 fight.

The public appeal on April 28 saw organisations and individuals contributing towards SRC's efforts to secure much-needed equipment including oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders and ventilators as well as hygiene and medical kits.

Mr Benjamin William, chief executive and secretary-general of the SRC, said on Wednesday (May 12): "Over the past two weeks, we have seen an outpouring of support from individuals and organisations, for which we are grateful.

"With the number of cases in India increasing day by day, the needs on the ground are growing in tandem, and so are the resources required to support affected and at-risk communities."

SRC had already sent 1,300 oxygen cylinders, three ISO cryogenic tanks and five ventilators to India.

SRC is working with the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) to distribute them to health institutions in seven states most affected by the pandemic - Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.

"Further shipments, comprising over four million surgical masks, 1.5 million N95 masks, 2,000 oxygen concentrators, 1,200 oxygen cylinders and 150 ventilators, are expected to arrive over the coming weeks," added SRC in a statement.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Williams highlighted some challenges it faced in procuring and distributing the items.

He noted that the surge in global demand for oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders and ventilators has resulted in a shortage of medical supplies for immediate delivery.

Many airlines have also cut down flights to India. While shipping capacity exists, it takes longer for supplies to reach their destination, he said.

Custom regulations and last-mile distribution are another challenge.

He said: "Covid-19 is a curve ball and we cannot employ the same modus operandi. We need to trust partners on the ground to ensure the last mile distribution reaches the most vulnerable."

He added that SRC is leveraging on its regional networks and partnerships to secure the supplies and to get them where they are most needed.

"The operations are a reflection of our Singapore Inc approach to this response - where teamwork, resourcefulness and effectiveness take centrestage," said Mr Williams.

Representatives from the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pan Indian Institutes of Management (Pan IIM) and Pan Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) were present at the event held at the Red Cross House.

Other mobilisation partners include The Indus Entrepreneurs and Little India Shopkeepers Association.

Mr Suresh Shankar, president of Pan IIM Alumni, said: "It is not just about the money but the number of lives we can save.

"Money is an enabler, but to save lives, it is critical to order quality equipment, ship them fast and ensure that the supply reaches the hospitals where it is needed."

Mr Ashish Verma, treasurer of IIT Alumni Association of Singapore, said: "A lot of people (in India) have lost their friends, colleagues and close family members. We are in a protected and safe country like Singapore, so there is a moral responsibility to help since we are in a position to do so."

How to donate?

Online donation can be made through this link.

For cheque donations, make the cheque payable to "Singapore Red Cross Society", and post to Red Cross House, 15 Penang Lane, Singapore 238486. Leave your name, postal address and indicate "India COVID19 Response" at the back of your cheque.

Alternatively, you can PayNow to UEN S86CC0370EFR2. Please indicate "India COVID19 Response" under Bill Reference.

Internet banking (DBS/POSB only)

Select "Pay" >Go to "Pay Bills" >Click "Add Billing Organization not in my pre-arranged list" >Select "SINGAPORE RED CROSS (DONATION)" >Key in the amount you would like to donate and your details >Input "India COVID-19 Response" under Bill Reference.

Fund transfer

Select "Transfer Money" >Go to "One-Time Transfer" >Click "To other bank" >Key in "SINGAPORE RED CROSS" >Select "HSBC (Corporate)" >Enter account no. "142038546002" >Key in the amount you would like to donate> Input " India COVID-19 Response" under Comments.

Revolut

If you're a Revolut Singapore customer, you can make a one-off donation or round up your spare change and have it automatically donated, via the Donations feature in-app.

SRC's fund-raising appeal ends on June 28.

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