In response to an exponential increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Nepal and the Nepalese authorities' appeal for international assistance, Swiss Humanitarian Aid swiftly set up a crisis unit composed of staff from the Swiss embassy in Kathmandu, the Crisis Management Centre (KMZ) and the FDFA's State Secretariat. In close consultation with the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) and the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA), the crisis unit drew up a list of humanitarian goods to meet identified needs on the ground in Nepal.
A cargo aircraft will leave Zurich for Kathmandu on Friday carrying 30 tonnes of supplies. The consignment comprises 40 respirators provided free of charge by the Armed Forces Pharmacy, 10 oxygen concentrators purchased from private companies by Swiss Humanitarian Aid, 1.1 million antigen tests donated by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), and personal protective equipment (overalls and gloves). Prior enquiries were made to ensure that these supplies were not needed in Switzerland.
The supplies will be received in Kathmandu by officials from the Nepalese Ministry of Health, who will distribute them to hospitals and other health facilities. The Swiss embassy to Nepal is working closely with all ministries involved in this operation. It is also coordinating international aid with other diplomatic missions in Kathmandu.
Nepal is one of the priority countries of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), which has so far allocated CHF 12 million to help stem the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
This latest Swiss Humanitarian Aid consignment comes after 13 tonnes of respirators, oxygen concentrators and other supplies were shipped on 6 May to India, which shares a border with Nepal. Swiss Humanitarian Aid continues to monitor health developments relating to COVID-19 worldwide and is ready to provide assistance to the extent possible upon request.
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