India to focus on rapid rescue in Nepal

India intensified its efforts to help earthquake-hit Nepal, though a fresh 6.7- magnitude tremor interrupted relief-and-rescue operations on Sunday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting which decided to send an inter-ministerial team for assessment and ground-level coordination.

Faced with inclement weather, authorities are now looking at evacuation by land.

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said on Sunday that the government still did not have a confirmed number of Indian nationals killed or injured. “Rapid rescue and response is our primary mission,” he said.

Home Secretary L.C. Goyal said unconfirmed reports indicated that two persons from Bihar could be on the casualty list.

Sunday’s earthquake forced the Kathmandu airport to stay shut for the most part of the day. He said 10 tonnes of blankets, 50 tonnes of water provided by the Indian Railways and 22 tonnes of food had been sent. Thirteen military aircraft had been deployed.

The Foreign Secretary said seven National Disaster Response Force teams were on the ground, three more were sent on Sunday and additional teams would be deployed in two days. The Health and Family Welfare Ministry dispatched a 34-member medical team.

“On Saturday, 546 people were brought back; on Sunday a planeload of 237 landed, another with 266 is on the way and another with 130 is being loaded,” Mr. Jaishankar said.

The Home Ministry has allowed gratis visa to stranded tourists.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 4:54:10 AM |

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