Canberra, Senator the Honourable Penny Wong, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, has written to Senator the Honourable Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs raising serious concerns about the escalating COVID-19 crisis in Nepal and the urgent need for medical supplies. COVID-19 cases in Nepal have reached crisis levels, with the medical system on the brink of collapse.
Wong has made a profound appeal to the Australian government for sending humanitarian assistance to the COVID hit Nepal. She stated, “Nepal is facing a critical shortage of essential medical supplies, ICU equipment and oxygen, with the demand for the latter outstripping production capacity in the country.”
She said, “Nepal has traditionally been reliant on India for most of its medical supplies, however, the escalating COVID-19 crisis in India has limited the ongoing support available. Nepal’s Health Ministry has urgently requested support from the international community – including seeking oxygen generation plants, ventilators, and vaccine doses.”
She further said, “I note the Australian Government’s announcement, I welcome and encourage exploration of further assistance to Nepal. This is an important opportunity for Australia to demonstrate our capacity and willingness to assist those in need in our region and contribute to improving regional health security.”
She added, “This is also a distressing time for the approximately 100,000 people of Nepalese ancestry in Australia who remain increasingly concerned for their friends and family in Nepal and are looking for leadership and support from the country they call home. Labor supports the Australian Government working with the Government of Nepal to provide whatever further assistance we can.”
Michelle Roland MP Shadow Minister for Communications Federal Member for Greenway on 2 June, in her speech in the parliament, launched an appeal in support of the COVID-19 affected country.
She said, “I rise to give a voice to the Nepalese community in my electorate. This virus is running rampant across the sub-continent, Nepal is now facing a similar COVID crisis. I have great admiration for the Nepalese community in Western Sydney, many of whom I consider close friends, including Goba Katuwal, Ramesh Pandey, Dr. Binod Shrestha, Ganesh KC, and Indra Ban.”
She further said, “In fact, I intended to visit Nepal in March last year, but the pandemic made it impossible. The Australian Nepalese community is calling for the Federal Government to do all it can to support our friends to the North. These are sentiments I echo – if Australia is to be an active citizen, we need to take decisive steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19, particularly in countries where outbreaks such as these can have devastating impacts.”
She added, “To our Nepalese friends, I stand with you, and it’s time the Federal Government did too. It has announced support – well, get on with delivering it. Work with the Nepali Ambassador to get humanitarian and medical aid to the people who need it most. The time for symbolic gestures is over. Nepal needs help, and we must do something about it.”