Jakarta (ANTARA) - The US-ASEAN Business Council Institute (USABCI), together with the American Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (AICC), has facilitated the delivery of 30 pallets of critical relief materials from New York to help Indonesia tackle the pandemic.

The organizations jointly led efforts to coordinate two in-kind shipments from express carriers FedEx and UPS, with expertise and technical assistance provided by Deloitte, based on a statement received in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The 30 pallets collectively contained over one million swab kits and other types of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and were part of a larger donation made by the City of New York to Yayasan BUMN untuk Indonesia, the foundational arm of the Ministry for State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN) in Indonesia.

"I am so proud that the US-ASEAN Business Council Institute could play such a fundamental role in the movement of these vital materials to the people of Indonesia," USABCI president Elizabeth Dugan said.

"The generosity of New York City and FedEx and UPS cannot be overstated, and when you see organizations—both American and Indonesian—band together as they have behind this critically important need, you know that even in the face of crisis, the best of people’s hearts will emerge and prevail," she added.

"I first heard about the New York donated material in early August and immediately felt proud as a New Yorker that we had surplus material for others around the world, especially since the Indonesian community in Queens had rallied in 2020 to provide daily meals to emergency medical workers," president of AICC, Wayne Forrest, remarked.

"I then found my way to the Global Pandemic Task Force and our colleagues at the US-ASEAN Business Council Institute who have been true partners to arrange this initial shipment. The Indonesian Consulate in New York and member companies Bank Negara Indonesia and Bank Rakyat Indonesia helped facilitate relations with New York City and the recipients in Indonesia. We now have a framework to move the remaining thousand plus pallets," Forrest said.

Indonesia battled a spike in COVID-19 cases recently due to the emergence of the highly transmissible delta variant. While the peak in cases in the latest spike has passed, there is still an urgent need for relief materials including masks, swabs, gowns, ventilators, and home test kits, he noted. Having enough PPEs on hand will give Indonesia greater resilience in responding to potential spikes in the future as new variants of the virus emerge, he added.

"We are very grateful to the City of New York for donating the materials, and of course, to all of the organizations that have helped in ensuring that we were able to receive the first shipment today. These supplies will certainly help our community in overcoming the current COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia" chairman of Yayasan BUMN untuk Indonesia, Harjawan Balaningrath, said.

The larger donation was received symbolically in August this year by Erick Thohir, Indonesia’s Minister of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs). He was accompanied by Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi and Sung Y. Kim, U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia.

"We are grateful to the US-ASEAN Business Council Institute, the American Indonesian Chamber of Commerce, and the American companies who have been steadfast in their support of Indonesia’s pandemic response effort. U.S. corporate excellence continues to strengthen Indonesia through sustainable business practices, jobs and training opportunities, and charitable donations. This gift from the people of New York City is another example of the strong friendship between our two countries," counselor for public diplomacy, U.S. Embassy, Jakarta, Rachel Cooke, said.

The first shipment was received at Jakarta Soekarno–Hatta International Airport on Tuesday afternoon shortly after 12 p.m. local time in the presence of representatives from Yayasan BUMN untuk Indonesia, the U.S. Embassy Jakarta, US-ASEAN Business Council, AICC, and FedEx were present for the arrival.

The second shipment from UPS is scheduled to arrive at a later date, officials said.

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Reporter: Azis Kurmala
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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