The first shipment of hospital beds and accessories to be distributed to intensive care units in Sri Lanka left Brisbane on board a freighter on July 1.
The first consignment, shipped in two containers, comprised 74 beds, 26 mattresses, 26 bedside cupboards and 140 crutches. This is the first of a campaign launched by the Federation of Sri Lankan Organisations of Queensland to ship 720 beds in 12 containers to Sri Lanka.
The FSOQ project was launched in mid-May following an appeal from Sri Lankan doctors to help due to a critical shortage of beds in the ICU wards treating patients who had contracted COVID-19.
FSOQ president Jayasiri Weerawardena said there had been a magnificent response from the wider Brisbane community who contributed generously in fundraising to pay for shipping.
The total funds collected now stand at $44,380.50. Initially, the campaign was to collect $21,000 to ship 350 beds in six containers.
“The community support for our campaign has being overwhelming,” Dr Weerawardena said. “With this collection we can now plan to send 12 containers – $3000+ shipping insurance= $3300 each – which means 720 beds.”
Dr Weerawardena said sending the first shipment was a major breakthrough considering the shortage of shipping space after the Suez Canal blockage.
A team of willing volunteers loaded the beds and other items into containers on Saturday, June 26.
Dr Weerawardena thanked Sidath Wijethunga and Ajith Abeywardene for coordinating the sourcing and loading pf beds.