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India steps up efforts to offer relief in Nepal

India on Monday stepped up its ongoing rescue and relief efforts in Nepal, dispatching more medical aid, relief material and personnel to help restore power supply, rebuild infrastructure and connectivity and evacuate people. Moving into more severely affected areas, the Army has set up a second task force headquarter under Brigadier J Gamlin in Barpak, the epicentre of the quake that hit Nepal on Saturday. An inter-ministerial team of top officials, headed by an additional secretary in the Ministry of Home has also reached Nepal to coordinate relief operations. A new four digit control room number 1078 has also become operational.

The Army which had already set up a task force headquarter under Maj Gen J Sandhu for controlling and coordinating operations in Kathmandu, is now reaching out to more inaccessible and severely affected areas. With just a dirt track for road, the access to Barpak, one of the worst-hit districts was difficult, forcing the Army to drop relief and ferry personnel through helicopters. “At the epicentre of the earthquake at Barpak village near Lamjung, in Gorkha District, we could see nearly 150 bodies from the helicopters. We are focussing on opening the road to Kathmandu and waiting with additional relief measures as required by Nepal,” said an official of the Army. The official pointed out additional relief and aid material has been put on stand-by as the Army is waiting to hear from authorities in Nepal about their requirements. “The idea is to send material based on the priority of relief needed by Nepal. We are sending what they need, for instance they wanted oxygen tanks so we sent those,” the official explained.

On Monday four ALH and 2 Cheetah copters were being inducted to Pokhra where a Heptr Base is being established. Eighteen medical teams of 10 personnel each have been inducted and deployed; one engineering task force has been deployed too. Apart from relief work, India is also focussing on evacuation of people through the surface route, as congestion at the airport is slowing down operations. Helicopters are

being employed to evacuate people from inaccessible areas and adhoc helipads are being constructed at remote and inaccessible areas, 203 civilians have been evacuated by the Army to safe areas and 47 civilians evacuated to hospitals in joint effort with NDRF and IAF.

The official said Major Ritesh Goyal, a doctor who is with the Army’s 40 member expedition team has been able to provide medical aid and medicines to several persons who were affected by the avalanche on Saturday.

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said power grid officials have reached Nepal to work on restoration of power supply, while Indian Oil Corporation has sent a team for assessment, three additional NDRF teams will be deputed by Monday evening and frequency of bus service between India and Nepal is being increased to help evacuate people. Trucks have also been pressed into service to ferry relief material.

“The Railways have agreed to put additional bogeys in trains from Gorakhpur and Raksaul for helping people in forward journeys and more rescue flights will be carried out,” he said. So far Over 5,400 people have been evacuated from the Himalayan nation.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 9:44:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-steps-up-efforts-to-offer-relief-in-nepal/article7147385.ece

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