SINGAPORE: The Singapore Red Cross has raised more than S$6 million for its COVID-19 relief operations in China, with the first tranche of aid going out in the next few days, said CEO Benjamin William on Wednesday (Feb 19).
The announcement came about two weeks after the charity first called for public donations, with the Singapore Government pledging S$1 million in seed funding.
On Wednesday, wealth management firm Signature Consulting also presented the Singapore Red Cross with a US$2 million (S$2.8 million) donation on behalf of its clients, some of whom wanted to remain anonymous.
About S$2.3 million will go towards the purchase and distribution of personal protective equipment for hospital staff and other healthcare providers, said Mr William.
Three hospitals in Hubei province will also receive emergency medical equipment such as non-invasive ventilators and respiratory humidifiers while seven social welfare homes in the cities of Tianjin and Nanning will receive items including masks and disinfectants.
The rest of the money will go towards funding other areas such as risk communication, community engagement, and water, sanitation and hygiene promotion.
More than 100,000 Chinese residents are expected to benefit from the first tranche. A second tranche of more than half a million dollars is expected to go towards supplying 10 negative pressure ambulances to hospitals, said Mr William.
Two staff members have also been deployed overseas - one to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) office in Kuala Lumpur and one to the IFRC office in Beijing.
The worker sent to the IFRC office in Beijing will be there to ensure accountability and proper distribution of supplies, said Mr William.
On Wednesday, Mr William reiterated a call for Singaporeans to donate blood, saying stocks remained "low" despite people queuing outside blood banks over the weekend.
The Singapore Red Cross had put out several social media posts last week, saying: "The need for blood never stops, even during this challenging period. We really need you to donate blood to help keep our blood stocks healthy."
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also wrote on Facebook, thanking those who "stepped up to give blood, even in this COVID-19 outbreak".
However, he said the "blood bank is still short of A- and AB- blood types" and encouraged people to "come forward to donate if you can".
A check on the Singapore Red Cross website on Wednesday showed that stocks for A-, B+, AB- and O+ blood types were in the critical levels.