NEW DELHI: Stepping up its relief and rescue operations in earthquake-hit Nepal, the Indian Air Force on Monday sent 12 aircraft carrying relief material. The IAF’s Mi-17 helicopters made six sorties and evacuated at least 87 casualties and dropped 3.5 tons of relief load.
And widening “Operation Maitri”, the Army has moved its rescue mission outside Kathmandu to the quake’s epicentre at Barpak village in Gorkha district, after its engineers managed to open up the road to the Nepal capital from India. A task force has been set up at Barpak for the purpose. The Army said relief material and equipment could now be moved by road itself.
With weather improving, the IAF and the Army fanned out to remote areas while continuing to transport essential items from various bases to Kathmandu and evacuating distressed persons to India.
“The aid that is being sent to Nepal is what was asked for by the Nepal army. We are helping them as per their requirement,” the officers said, adding that the neighbouring country was not seeking Indian personnel but equipment and expertise.
A satellite communication link has been established between the Nepal army headquarters and India’s Army Engineer Task Force. In addition, a movement control team has been set up in Kathmandu to direct relief convoys to affected areas.
The Army, which established a helicopter base in Pokhara, has pressed into service four advanced light helicopters and two Cheetah choppers.
Eighteen medical teams have been inducted and three field hospitals with specialist doctors set up. Additional doctors have been tasked with covering the 80-km radius area around the base in two mobile teams.
On Monday, the IAF sent five tonnes of milk, light vehicles, a reverse osmosis plant, oxygen regenerators, medicines, blankets, tents, 14 tonnes of food to Nepal. For this purpose, four C-17 Globemaster III, three C-130J Super Hercules, three IL-76 and two AN-32 tranport aircraft were deployed.
■ Relief Supplies to the Needy: 220 tonnes of food packets and dry rations, 50 tonnes of mineral water, 2 tonnes of medicines, 40 tents and 1,400 blankets sent
■ Rajasthan Sends Med Team: A 41-member medical team, along with medical supplies, was sent to Nepal from Rajasthan
■ NDRF Steps up Efforts: Ten teams of the NDRF have begun full-fledged relief and rescue operations in the quake-hit nation
■ SSB Rushes Aid Vehicles: The Indo-Bhutan border guarding force, SSB, said it has dispatched over three dozen vehicles, including ambulances and water tankers from its border camps