Military ready to fly out relief to Nepal on C-130
Taiwan’s military is on standby and will be ready to dispatch its C-130 transport aircraft to airlift supplies to Nepal in areas devastated by earthquake, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday.
Speaking at a news briefing, military spokesman Luo Shou-he (
) said the ministry had instructed Air Force Headquarters to assess and plan the post-disaster relief mission over the past few days fol- lowing the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday, killing thousands.
Now the plan has been completed and the military is on standby pending a government decision on whether to send military transport aircraft to Nepal, he noted.
The Air Force is ready to conduct the disaster relief mission once other countries have agreed to allow Taiwanese military aircraft to fly through their airspace, Luo noted.
A military official who prefers to stay anonymous yesterday told local media that military personnel have completed flight simulations for flying the C-130 aircraft to Kathmandu.
A total of 11 military medical team members are on standby to carry out the mission, the official noted.
It could take 11 to 14 hours to fly the C-130 craft to Kathmandu with medical teams and supplies, the official said.
The Foreign Ministry
still in talks with related countries to see if it is possible to carry out the mission, the official noted.
He said, however, that it will be more cost effective and economical to send civilian aircraft for the mission instead of military ones because the flight routes involve traveling through the airspace of many countries.
The military aircraft also need to stop for refueling during the long flight, the official noted.
Meanwhile, asked to comment, Foreign Minister David Lin (
) yesterday told the Chineselanguage Apple Daily that the R.O.C. government officials have expressed their intention to their Nepalese counterparts to send rescue teams and supplies to assist post-disaster relief work.
Nepal’s government has expressed gratitude for the offer and said it will let Taiwan know if it needs assistance, Lin noted.
During a press conference on Monday, Lin explained that Kath- mandu has so far only asked for assistance for search and rescue efforts from neighboring countries.
He noted that the decision has nothing to do with mainland Chinese pressure or the countries’ lack of official diplomatic ties.
Previous C-130 Missions
The R.O.C. government previously sent C-130 military transport aircraft carrying supplies to the Philippines as part of Taiwan’s humanitarian aid mission in the South- east Asian country in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan on November 2013, despite the lack of official ties.
R.O.C. Air Force C-130 Hercules transport aircraft carried out similar missions in 2004 and 2010.
In 2004, similar aircraft were used to perform a relief mission for victims of a tsunami in Southeast Asia, while in 2010, the transport plane delivered medical supplies and relief goods to earthquake- ravaged Haiti, one of Taiwan’s 22 diplomatic allies.