Walmart will donate up to 20 oxygen-generating plants and 20 cryogenic containers to India for the storage and transportation of the life-saving gas, and also provide USD 2 million to non-governmental organisations to help them fight the devastating surge in coronavirus cases, the American retail giant has announced.
The decision by Walmart came as India continues to witness a steep increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, crippling its health facilities, especially the supply of oxygen.
“Walmart will donate up to 20 oxygen-generating plants and 20 cryogenic containers for oxygen storage and transportation, as well as more than 3,000 oxygen concentrators and 500 oxygen cylinders for delivering oxygen therapy to patients at home or in hospital,” Arkansas-headquartered company said in a statement.
These are being sourced globally and will be donated to hospitals and NGOs in India for distribution.
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have also committed to fund an additional 2,500 oxygen concentrators as part of the US-India Business Council and US-India Strategic Partnership Forum’s joint relief effort, the statement said.
“Walmart is a global family. We feel the impact of this devastating surge on our associates, families and friends across India, and it’s important that we come together to support however we can,” Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart Inc, was quoted as saying in the statement.
“We are working hard to combine Walmart’s global capabilities and Flipkart’s distribution network to ensure vital oxygen and supplies are made available to those who need them most. Our hearts are with everyone in India,” he added.
According to the statement, the Walmart Foundation is donating USD 2 million to support various NGOs in India.
A total of about USD 1 million will be allocated through the Walmart Foundation Disaster Relief Fund, a donor advised fund, to recommend support for Doctors for You to operate isolation centers and temporary hospitals, as well as provide personal protective equipment for frontline medical workers.
The other USD 1 million will be allocated to GIVE Foundation Inc. to support GiveIndia’s COVID response fund, which will support physical infrastructure and equipment for the medical sector in India, prioritising the most impacted and vulnerable communities, it said.
Walmart Canada will also support relief efforts through the Canadian Red Cross India COVID-19 Response Appeal, funding ambulance and transport services for patients, quarantine isolation centers and other services, the media release said.
Till Saturday, coronavirus cases in India hit a record daily high with over 4 lakh new infections being reported in the last 24 hours, while the active cases crossed the 32-lakh mark, according to data updated by the Union Health Ministry.
The infection tally rose to 1,91,64,969 with 4,01,993 new cases, while the death toll increased to 2,11,853 with 3,523 daily new fatalities, the latest data showed.