NDRF, BMC firefighters await orders to fly to Nepal

Apr 27, 2015, 08:23 IST | Sachin Unhalekar

Two teams of 45 rescuers each from National Disaster Rescue Force, and 30 firemen from the BMC fire brigade are ready to fly to Nepal to assist in the central government’s rescue operations after the earthquake

"We are packed and ready. Once we receive the order, we will leave within 15 minutes," said Pandit Ithape, deputy commander of the National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF), when asked about their preparation for the central government's rescue mission in Nepal after a devastating earthquake wreaked havoc upon the mountain kingdom.

Nepal Earthquake: The day the Earth shook

The NDRF teams have two trucks filled with rescue material and tools, all of which will be loaded into specially designated Indian Air Force aircraft that will fly to Nepal
The NDRF teams have two trucks filled with rescue material and tools, all of which will be loaded into specially designated Indian Air Force aircraft that will fly to Nepal

Besides the NDRF, firefighters from the BMC fire brigade are also awaiting orders to leave for Nepal. Both teams of the NDRF stationed in Mumbai, with 45 members each, are currently at the Shahaji Raje Krida Sankul (Andheri Sports Complex).

The disaster management force has been asked to follow strict timelines leave their stations within 15 minutes of receiving the order, and reach the airport within half an hour thereafter. 30 firemen from all over the city are also part of the rescue operation.

Also read: Death and destruction as massive earthquake hits Nepal

Both the firemen and NDRF teams have four trucks between them, each loaded with rescue material and tools. These will be transported to the airport and loaded onto an Indian Air Force aircraft.

"We are also supposed to pick up grain and food material for ourselves en route to the airport," said Prabhat Rahandale, deputy chief fire officer. This poses a big challenge for the firemen, who have to do all this within the 30-minute deadline. The fire brigade doesn't have the additional 15 minutes given to the NDRF.

All set
Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte said, "According to the order issued by National Disaster Mana-gement Authority, we have our teams ready. Once we get the orders, we will dispatch the teams immediately."

The NDRF has 16 more teams stationed in Pune, who are also awaiting instructions from the Centre. The two city teams of the force may have to join their counterparts in Pune, if required.

"The two Mumbai teams might have to travel to Pune first and then take off from there in specially arranged aircrafts of the Indian Air Force. Reaching Pune, however, will take another two and half hours at least. From there, reaching the airport will take another half an hour," added Ithape.

Nepali migrants worry about loved ones

With the earthquake and its aftershocks continuing to wreak havoc, Nepali migrants in the city are worried sick about their families

I have been staying in Mumbai since 2007 and visit my mother, sister and four-year-old niece every summer. I panicked when I heard about the earthquake. I had planned to go in May this year, but now I want to go as soon as possible. It was a nightmare, as I couldn’t get in touch with any of my family members for a long time. The situation is very bad and my house in Butwal, a city in Nepal, has developed cracks. My family has been staying outside since Saturday. I pray that everyone in Nepal stays safe 
Sabin Bhandari (25)

My family lives in Glumi Hunga, a town in Nepal, and I have spent every single minute worrying about my parents since I heard about the earthquake on Saturday. They are old and not knowing how they are is scary. After the earthquake, I tried to get in touch with them, but haven’t been able to get through. All the updates that I have are from social media and some phone calls to friends back in Nepal. I have lost a few of my friends in this disaster and I can’t imagine the situation getting worse
Hari Subedi (29)

- As told to Diksha Punjabi

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