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India’s Air Force Steps Forward as Citizens Scramble for Oxygen

The Indian Air Force so far has carried out 98 sorties from 11 countries to airlift oxygen-related supplies and other equipment for use back home.

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India’s Air Force Steps Forward as Citizens Scramble for Oxygen

A C17 aircraft offloading oxygen containers from Israel at Indore

Credit: Indian Air Force
India’s Air Force Steps Forward as Citizens Scramble for Oxygen

Three empty cryogenic oxygen containers transported from Singapore being offloaded at Panagarh

Credit: Indian Air Force
India’s Air Force Steps Forward as Citizens Scramble for Oxygen

Equipment for oxygen generation plant transported to the border state of Nagaland

Credit: Indian Air Force
India’s Air Force Steps Forward as Citizens Scramble for Oxygen

Oxygen containers being loaded onto an IL-76 aircraft at Dubai in United Arab Emirates

Credit: Indian Air Force
India’s Air Force Steps Forward as Citizens Scramble for Oxygen

Empty cryogenic containers being offloaded by a C-17 aircraft at Ranchi

Credit: Indian Air Force
India’s Air Force Steps Forward as Citizens Scramble for Oxygen

Two C 130 aircraft from Singapore delivering 256 oxygen cylinders at Panagarh

Credit: Indian Air Force
India’s Air Force Steps Forward as Citizens Scramble for Oxygen

Two empty cryogenic oxygen containers being transported from Jodhpur to Jamnagar by a C-17 aircraft

Credit: Indian Air Force
India’s Air Force Steps Forward as Citizens Scramble for Oxygen

An empty cryogenic oxygen container being airlifted from Indore to Jamnagar by a C17 aircraft

Credit: Indian Air Force
India’s Air Force Steps Forward as Citizens Scramble for Oxygen

An IL-76 aircraft transporting oxygen containers from Indonesia to India

Credit: Indian Air Force

As India continues to grapple with its second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s military has stepped up efforts to assist the government by transporting oxygen containers and medical supplies.

Hospitals across the country are reeling under a severe shortage of medical oxygen and beds in view of the drastic spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been airlifting oxygen containers and tankers from abroad to various filling stations in the country to expedite the distribution of medical oxygen for the treatment of the patients.

Many deaths have been reported across the country as a result of a lack of oxygen, with the situation in the capital city of New Delhi among the worst in the country. As of May 12, the total number of coronavirus cases in the country was 2,33,40,938, out of which 37,04,099 were active cases; 2,54,197 people had died while 1,93,82,642 had recovered.

As many as 533 of the country’s 718 districts have reported a test positivity rate of over 10 percent, underscoring the colossal spread of the novel coronavirus infection in the country in recent weeks. The most affected states are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Up to the second week of this month, the IAF had conducted 98 sorties from 11  countries — Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Germany, Australia, Belgium, Indonesia, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Israel and France — airlifting 95 oxygen containers and generators weighing 793 metric tons, and other equipment weighing 204 metric tons, which have been distributed to different destinations across the country.

Air Vice Marshal M Ranade was quoted by the media as saying that the IAF has deployed 42 transport aircraft for COVID-19 relief tasks including 12 heavy lift and 30 medium lift aircraft which are being utilized to bring in relief measures, personnel and material from abroad.

Besides the IAF, the army and navy have also stepped in to provide assistance in the transportation of medical oxygen and equipment for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. An official pointed out that the sorties would continue to transport equipment from abroad until the situation comes under control.