Updates: U.S. Disaster Relief Teams Head for Nepal
U.S. Ambassador Peter W. Bodde, center, welcomes the U.S. Disaster Assistance and Response Team to Nepal, April 28, 2015. The team deployed to assist with relief and recovery efforts after the country was struck by a magnitude-7.8 earthquake April 25.
U.S. Air Force Airmen offload relief supplies for victims of the Nepal earthquake from a USAF C-17 Globemaster III April 28, 2015. The Air Force transported relief supplies along with members of the United States Agency to International Development (USAID), the Los Angeles County Search and Rescue team and five search and rescue dogs to Katmandu, Nepal. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Taylor Queen)
As the confirmed death toll from Nepal’s devastating earthquake rises to 4,680, the United Nations resident coordinator tells reporters that that 8 million people had been affected by the quake, and that 1.4 million need food assistance, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
In addition, the CBC reports, more than 8,000 people have been injured and tens of thousands are believed to be homeless.
Nepal’s prime minister has declared three days of national mourning for the victims of the earthquake and warns that that the number of people killed in the earthquake could reach 10,000, according to Al Jazeera.
Rescue and relief operations continue at a frantic pace to try to save those who may still be alive.
The U.S. Air Force is sending a second C-17 cargo plane loaded with relief supplies to Nepal (the first one left yesterday, see below) and, the U.S. Air Force says, “it could be just the beginning of help from the U.S. military.”
Col. Steven Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters on Monday that another plane also has departed for Nepal. In addition, a 26-person U.S. special operations team, which was in Nepal for a joint training mission when the quake took place, has been re-tasked and is now seeking to help earthquake victims, in part in the Everest region.
The response may seem small thus far. But the relief effort is complicated right now by several factors. A spokesman for the Indian ministry of defense, Sitanshu Kar, said Monday on Twitter that four planes India had sent to Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, were forced to turn around due to reported congestion at the city’s airport.
Nepal is also a landlocked country with difficult terrain, including the Himalayan Mountains. That complicates the relief effort in a way that it didn’t for some other massive earthquakes, such as the one in Haiti in 2010.
The Air Force Times tells us that 26 members of Army Special Forces are already helping Nepal’s military find and help survivors from the earthquake.
Two Special Forces teams were training in Nepal at the time of the earthquake, Pool told Military Times on April 27. One team was in country for high altitude training, so it is helping find survivors in popular trekking trails, including Mount Everest’s base camp, which was particularly hard hit.
Other members of Special Forces are helping provide medical care to the wounded and setting up tents for survivors, he said.
All Defense Department personnel who were in Nepal when the earthquake stuck have been accounted for.
Currently, the Defense Department has not been asked to provide any further support, a Defense Department official said. But leaders at U.S. Pacific Command have issued a warning order to component commanders to stand ready to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, said Marine Capt. Maureen Krebs, a spokeswoman and the Pentagon.
Please click here to see how you can help the victims of Nepal’s earthquake.
As reported here, the death toll from the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday has risen to nearly 3,900 people, a number that is expected to rise.
As is typical when such tragedies strike anywhere around the globe, the U.S., civilian disaster response teams and the military are there.
The Department of Defense reports that the United States has sent an Air Force aircraft to Nepal to deliver personnel and cargo in support of disaster-relief operations.
“This morning at approximately 11:18 a.m., a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster departed from Dover Air Force Base bound for Nepal,” Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said in a statement released today. “The aircraft is transporting nearly 70 personnel, including a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team, the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue team and several journalists, along with 45 square tons of cargo.” (Photo above)
Bill Kennedy marshals a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III on Dover Air Force Base, Del., April 26, 2015. The aircraft is loaded with 69 members of the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue Team, their supplies and equipment, and six K-9 dogs, to assist Nepal with rescue operations after the country was struck by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake. Kennedy is assigned to the 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
The flight is expected to arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, on April 27, according to Warren.
The initial estimated cost for the U.S. Defense Department’s support is approximately $700,000, and there are currently no additional requests for DoD support, officials said on background.
At the time of the earthquake, there were 26 DoD personnel and one U.S. C-130 in Nepal to conduct a previously scheduled training exercise. All DoD personnel in Nepal are accounted for, officials said.
Jennifer Massey, Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue K-9 search specialist from Fairfax, Va., and her K-9 dog, Phayu, board a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III on Dover Air Force Base, Del., April 26. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Johnson
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Tavin Alford loads equipment and supplies for the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue Team onto a C-17 Globemaster III on Dover Air Force Base, Del., April 26, 2015. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Johnson
Lead photo: Sixty-nine members of the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue Team await takeoff on a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from Dover Air Force Base, Del., April 26, 2015. The team and about 70,000 pounds of supplies are deploying to Nepal to assist with rescue operations after the country was struck by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake.
All photos and captions: DOD