The Indian Armed Forces have been leaving no stone unturned to strengthening the nation to combat COVID-19. The defence forces along with other organisations like DRDO, OFB swung into action to mitigate the COVID infection.
From sending additional technical professionals across the nation to set up new COVID facilities along with the deployment of IAF transport aircraft & Indian Naval ships to augment medical oxygen from friendly foreign nations, the Armed Forces have been tirelessly working in service to the nation.
Indian Air Force assisting the nation with its glory
Intensifying the fight against COVID-19, the Indian Air Force (IAF) swung into action by carrying out numerous sorties from various parts of the globe and within the nation to airlift oxygen containers, cylinders, essential medicines, equipment required for sustaining COVID hospitals.
As of 10 May, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has carried out more than 84 international sorties, airlifting over 81 cryogenic oxygen containers of 1,407 MT capacity from foreign countries. Within India, IAF carried out 534 sorties, airlifting 336 containers of 6,420 MT capacity.
Continuing with air bridge efforts yesterday, IAF IL-76 airlifted cryogenic oxygen containers from Indonesia, while IAF C-17s airlifted oxygen generators from France & medical equipment from Germany.
On 5th May 2021, IAF operationalised a 100-bed COVID care treatment facility with oxygen concentrators for the general public at Jalahalli Air Force Station (AFS), Bengaluru, Karnataka.
Earlier, the Air Force airlifted doctors and nursing staff from Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kochi, and Vizag for setting up a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Covid facility at Delhi Cantonment area. Previously, IAF had also airlifted oxygen containers of DRDO from Bengaluru for the Covid facility in Delhi.
Indian Navy’s Operation Samudra Setu II: Bringing life-saving medical oxygen to home
To augment the supply of medical oxygen, the Indian Navy under its Operation Samudra Setu II has deployed 9 warships from all three Naval Commands, for the shipment of medical oxygen, and associated medical equipment from friendly foreign countries.
Today, the Indian Naval Ship (INS) Airavat entered the port of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh from Singapore, carrying eight 20-tonnes empty cryogenic oxygen cylinders, and other critical COVID medical relief aid including 3,898 Oxygen cylinders. The ship departed Singapore on Wednesday last week.
INS Trikand also arrived at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai today, ferrying two cryogenic tankers with 20 MT liquid medical oxygen from Qatar. INS Kolkata also reached India, ferrying two cryogenic tankers with 40 metric tonnes (MT) of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO), along with 200 oxygen cylinders, 4 oxygen concentrators from Kuwait. Earlier, the warship had embarked 200 oxygen cylinders, and 43 oxygen concentrators from Doha, Qatar, which will also be delivered by today
Indian Army hospitals for civilians
The Indian Army has put its resources in service to the nation, by deploying 750 beds in various military hospitals for civilian use. To date, Armed Forces Medical Service (AFMS) dedicated 19 hospitals with more than 4,000 beds & 585 ICU units across the nation.
After Delhi, Ahmedabad and Lucknow, the Indian Army has now operationalised a fully oxygenated 750-bed COVID hospital at Pandit Rajan Mishra in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, including a 250-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The COVID care facility is being run in coordination with Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Varanasi with doctors, nursing & medical staff of the Indian Army.
Western Command of the Indian Army has also operationalised a 100-bed COVID hospital at Sector 25, Panjab University, Chandigarh today.
On the 6th of May, the Indian Army mobilised two field hospitals by air to Patna to set up a 500-bed COVID care centre for the people of the state to fight the surge of COVID-19.
In Uttar Pradesh, Army operationalised 100- bed COVID facility each at Lucknow and Prayagraj in order to cater to the surge in cases. A 40-bedded isolation facility was set up along with ambulances at Saugor, Madhya Pradesh along with a 100-bed medical care centre at Bhopal & Jabalpur.
DRDO and OFB pitch in
Various Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are at the forefront of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The research arm of Defence Ministry DRDO has set up a 500-bed COVID-19 facility each in New Delhi and Lucknow along with a 900-bed healthcare facility in Ahmedabad. DRDO also converted ESIC Hospital into a 500-bed COVID hospital in Patna. Presently, the organisation is in full swing to set up COVID hospitals at Muzaffarpur and Varanasi. Besides, DRDO is also assisting state governments in setting up temporary COVID hospitals.
Country’s main producer of military arsenal, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has been operating Covid medical facilities across 25 locations in the country. “Ranging from Maharashtra, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Odisha and Uttarakhand,” the Defence Ministry informed in a statement.
OFB has earmarked nearly 60% of its existing strength for Covid care including oxygen beds at their facilities. More than 813 beds out of a total of 1,405 are now reserved for Covid patients.