New Delhi: India donated 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital in Kabul on Saturday, and pledged to send another 500,000 vaccines in the coming weeks as part of the aid humanitarian aid to the Afghan people.
The vaccines were sent to Kabul via a flight from Iranian company Mahan Air, as there is currently no direct flight between India and Afghanistan. India had previously sent 1.6 tons of life-saving medicine to the same hospital, praising the Taliban.
“Today India has delivered the next humanitarian aid package consisting of 500,000 doses of COVID vaccine (Covaxin) to Afghanistan. The same was handed over to Indira Gandhi Hospital in Kabul, ”the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Another batch of 500,000 additional doses would be delivered in (the) coming weeks.”
On December 11, the Indian government sent 1.6 tons of medicine to the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health in Kabul on a special charter flight that also carried 85 Afghan nationals stranded in India after the takeover of the Afghanistan by the Taliban. The same flight had brought 104 people, mostly Sikhs and Afghan Hindus, from Kabul to New Delhi a day earlier.
The drugs were channeled through the World Health Organization.
India’s offer to deliver 50,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan via Pakistani overland routes, however, was delayed due to conditions imposed by Pakistan. On December 3, Pakistan announced that it would allow wheat and medicine to be shipped via the Wagah land border post in Afghan trucks, but has not yet finalized the terms.
India has pledged to provide humanitarian aid to the Afghan people consisting of food grains, one million doses of Covid-19 vaccines and essential life-saving drugs, the foreign ministry said.
India will begin the supply of wheat and the rest of the medical assistance in the coming weeks, the ministry said. “In this regard, we are in contact with United Nations agencies and others to finalize the transport modalities,” he added.
An estimated 98% of Afghans are starving to death due to a worsening economic crisis, conflict and drought, and that figure has increased by 17% since August, according to the World Food Program.
“Afghanistan is facing an avalanche of hunger and destitution unlike any other in over 20 years with the World Food Program,” said Mary-Ellen McGroarty, the agency’s country director for the ‘Afghanistan. “We urgently need $ 220 million per month in 2022 to help 23 million Afghans. “