Nepal earthquake: India, US, and UK put relief initiative in top gear
New Delhi: India is carrying out “Operation Maitri” (operation friendship) and the primary mission of this exercise is rapid rescue and relief response for the earthquake affected people in Nepal.
The death toll due to the havoc and destruction caused by the Nepal earthquake has risen to 3617 and the number of those injured is more than 6500, according to latest reports.
National Disaster Response Force teams from India have fanned out in the worst affected areas and the NDRF personnel are engaged in a massive rescue and relief operation.
Briefing media persons, India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said that 13 Military aircraft (4 C-17, 3 C-130, 4 IL-76 and 2 AN-32) have been deployed for relief work in Nepal. Besides 3 civil aircraft (2 from Air India and one Jet Airways) have also been engaged for bringing back stranded Indians and those from other countries. As there were aftershocks and the Kathmandu airport was closed for a few hours Sunday afternoon, the relief sorties were suspended for some time, the foreign secretary told journalists.
Three Army field hospitals, engineering task force and civilian doctors are also engaged in relief work. several tonnes of supplies, including blankets, tents, water and food have been airlifted, Jaishankar said.
US is also working closely with the government of Nepal to provide assistance and support. USAID is preparing to deploy a Disaster Assistance Response Team and is activating an Urban Search and Rescue Team to accompany disaster experts and assist with assessments of the situation. In the meanwhile, US Ambassador Bodde has issued a disaster declaration in order to immediately release an initial $1 million for humanitarian assistance.
In a statement to the people in Nepal and the region affected by this tragedy, US Foreign Secretary John Kerry said: “The United States stands with you during this difficult time.”
The British Department for International Development (DFID) has also deployed a team of more than 60 search and rescue responders and medical experts as part of a cross-government capacity surge to support the relief effort in Nepal, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced this evening.
A DFID-chartered flight is due to leave London this evening for Kathmandu. It will be carrying:
- seven UK International Search and Rescue crews, four search and rescue dogs, a medical support team and a hazardous materials specialist. They will take with them more than 11 tonnes of kit, including torches, axes, rope, search cameras, stretchers and tents;
- trauma medics travelling as part of a DFID-deployed UK Med team;
- a five-strong Foreign Office Rapid Deployment Team who will provide further consular assistance for British nationals affected by the disaster; and
- experts from leading aid agencies including the British Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières and Map Action, an international disaster mapping charity.
They will join the growing international aid effort in Kathmandu and help direct much-needed assistance. A £5 million package of UK support, including £3 million released under the Rapid Response Facility (RRF) so partners can address immediate needs on the ground and £2 million for the British Red Cross.
Britain’s Rapid Response Facility is a network of pre-approved specialist aid organisations and private businesses who can rapidly deliver emergency medical, water and sanitation assistance to affected people.