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India sends aid to cyclone hit Fiji

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Fiji
Photo: http://www.ezilon.com

New Delhi: India rushed financial and material aid to Fiji that has suffered the biggest cyclone in recorded history last weekend, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

Tropical Cyclone Winston, a category 5 cyclone, hit the Pacific Ocean island nation on February 20, claiming 44 lives.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj wrote to her Fijian counterpart Ratu Inoke Kubuabola to express her condolences, ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said adding that India had extended 1 million dollars as immediate assistance.

“In addition, today (Thursday) a C-17 Globemaster aircraft has left for Fiji with 45 tonnes of relief material, which includes food products such as noodles, biscuits, milk powder, rice pulses, flour and salt, as well as 5.43 tonnes of medicines and 300 tents and kitchen sets,” Swarup said at a media briefing here.

People of Indian origin account for 44 percent of Fiji’s population. Most are descendants of Indians who went in the 18th and 19th centuries to work as indentured labour in sugar cane plantations in the island nation.

The help is as promised by the Indian government last week. Fiji which has been left devastated because of this cyclone is in the need of help. (IANS)

Read more here: www.newsgram.com/india-pledges-us1million-assistance-to-cyclone-hit-fiji/

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India’s Lockdown Disrupts Functioning of Amazon and Flipkart

Amazon India Delivery and functioning of Essential Goods via. E-commerce companies Disrupted

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Virus Outbreak Amazon
India's coronavirus lockdown is disrupting e-commerce companies including Amazon and Flipkart. Pixabay

India’s coronavirus lockdown is disrupting e-commerce companies including Amazon and Flipkart, despite government assurances it would not, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Differing state and district level regulations relating to the 21-day lockdown, which began on Wednesday, are hindering operations, the sources said on Friday, with e-commerce firms finding it difficult to get curfew passes for delivery staff.

The disruptions highlight the difficulties of ensuring the supply of essential goods to 1.3 billion people during the shutdown in India, which has so far reported 724 cases of coronavirus and 17 deaths. Most of Amazon’s 60 plus fulfillment centers in India are shut and the U.S. company is in talks with state authorities to try to reopen them, three of the sources said. Industry executives say local authorities have not followed guidelines, stopping deliveries and warehouses from operating.

Virus Outbreak Amazon
A sign is lit on the facade of an Amazon fulfillment center. VOA

“It’s worse than one can think,” one source said, while a second added that only a “miniscule” number of Amazon warehouses were operating, citing this as a key reason for disruptions. Even when operations do begin to return to normal, it will only be in major cities, the second source added.

Amazon said in a statement that its top priority was to deliver the products which customers need the most and it was seeking urgent help from federal government and local authorities with detailed on-the-ground operating procedures. In New Delhi, Amazon’s Pantry service was suspended and the delivery slot for essential goods, such as oil and soaps, was shown as being April 26.

“There are clear guidelines provided by Government to enable essential services, and so we are working with the relevant authorities to ensure we are able to operate,” Amazon said on Twitter in response to questions from users in India.

Indian trade minister Piyush Goyal held a meeting with e-commerce executives on Thursday and said the government was “committed to ensuring that essential goods reach the people.”

Also Read- Effects of Quarantine on Mental Health and Relationships

Walmart-owned Flipkart has also been hit, with some grocery items which had been available earlier on Friday in New Delhi intermittently going out of stock. A source familiar with the situation said Flipkart was facing challenges with last-mile delivery of goods once they leave its warehouse due to restrictions on movement.

Flipkart said in a statement it had resumed grocery operations and there was a significant spike in orders. “We are enhancing capacity to meet the increase in customer requirements,” it said, adding it had received support from local and federal authorities.  (VOA)