In­dian armed forces wind up their big­gest re­lief and res­cue oper­a­tions abroad ever


In the just con­cluded ‘Op Maitri’ in the quake-hit Nepal, the In­dian Air Force (IAF) and the Army flew 2,223 sor­ties, res­cued/ evac­u­ated about 11,200 peo­ple (in­clud­ing 780 ca­su­al­ties) to safer places and trans­ported and dropped about 1,700 tonnes of re­lief ma­te­ri­als. The In­dian armed forces’ Rapid Ac­tion Med­i­cal Teams ex­tended med­i­cal as­sis­tance to 4,762 in­jured, in­clud­ing 300 surg­eries, 216 hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions and 4,174 OPD cases.

The mam­moth hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance and dis­as­ter re­lief (HADR) tasks car­ried out by the IAF and In­dian Army from April 25, 2015, wound up on June 4, 2015. Within four hours of the earth­quake that struck Nepal, IAF swung into ac­tion and routed one C-130J air­craft, two C-17, one IL-76, air­lift­ing 295 NDRF per­son­nel, 46.5 tonnes of load and five snif­fer dogs.

Lots of re­lief ma­te­rial for over a month were air­lifted like wa­ter, field hos­pi­tals, blan­kets, tents, paramedics, stretch­ers, medicines, pre­pared food, milk, uten­sils, veg­eta­bles, meals ready to eat (MRE), RO plants, oxy­gen re­gen­er­a­tors, Air Force Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Cen­tre ve­hi­cles, Rapid Ac­tion Med­i­cal Team (RAMT) with its trans­portable op­er­a­tion theatre, X-ray, lab­o­ra­tory and pa­tient beds, etc.

IAF air­craft that took part in the op­er­a­tion in­cluded heavy-lifters C-130J Su­per Her­cules, C-17 Globe­mas­ter III, IL-76 Ga­jraj and medium-lifter An-32. Be­sides these air­craft, eight medium-lift he­li­copters (MLH) which in­cluded Mi-17V5 and Mi-17.

Large-scale re­lief and res­cue oper­a­tions were car­ried out by Mi-17 V5 and Mi-17 he­li­copters from de­tach­ments at Pokhara and Kathmandu. These oper­a­tions were car­ried out to far-flung in­ac­ces­si­ble ar­eas at earth­quake af­fected places that in­cluded Lukla, Dhad­ing, Mil­lanchi, Gorkha, Chau­tara, Charikot, Melum, Aroghat, Dhunche, Tr­ishuli, Ramech­hap, Barpak, Narayan Chor, Nam­chi Bazar, Tatopani, Lam­aba­gar and other re­mote vil­lages.

The Engi­neer Task Force (ETF) of the In­dian Army have cleared and con­structed tracks in dif­fi­cult and in­ac­ces­si­ble ar­eas to fa­cil­i­tate the re­lief work in Barpak, Gorkha and Kathmandu. The ETF cleared over 16 km of track, over 11,477 cu­bic me­tres of de­bris, helped to re­con­struct 55 houses/shel­ters and re­cov­ered sev­eral bod­ies. The Army Avi­a­tion pilots flew con­tin­u­ously to evac­u­ate stranded and in­jured peo­ple, pro­vided re­lief ma­te­ri­als and in­ducted 567 Nepalese Army troops to reach in­ac­ces­si­ble ar­eas to carry out re­lief work. The Army pro­vided 10,000 blan­kets, 1,000 tents and 1,000 tar­pau­lin/plas­tic sheets.

The In­dian Army’s Ever­est Ex­pe­di­tion team, which was lo­cated at the Ever­est Base Camp when the earth­quake struck, did yeo­man ser­vice to res­cue a num­ber of moun­taineers who were af­fected by an avalanche that was trig­gered due to the quake. They helped in re­cov­er­ing 18 dead bod­ies and the team doc­tor ren­dered crit­i­cal med­i­cal aid to sev­eral moun­taineers be­fore they were evac­u­ated by air.

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