New Delhi(web team): Pulling virtually all its resources at hand, India sprung into action to help with rescue and relief effort to Nepal hours after the massive 7.9 earthquake caused devastation on Saturday afternoon.
NDRF members prepare relief materials to be airlifted to Nepal, at Hindon Air Force Station near New Delhi, on Saturday AFP
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has visited Nepal twice in his premiership, himself sat at the helm of affairs for stock taking and guiding the rescue efforts by chairing a high-level, crisis management meeting.
The meeting was attended by union ministers Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh, national security advisor Ajit Doval, principal secretary Nripendra Misra, additional principal secretary PK Mishra and senior officials from IMD and NDRF.
By 8:30pm, four Indian Air Force transport planes — one C 31-J Super Hercules and two C-17 Globe Master, the biggest transport planes India has — had left for Kathmandu with at least 250 specialised National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel and over 100 tonne of relief and rescue material.
The fourth plane, which left at 8:30pm from Hindon airbase near Delhi, carried a fully-equipped mobile hospital with a rapid action medical team comprising of nearly 30 doctors, including orthopedics, medicines and medical equipment. The plane will put in place a fully air-conditioned, 25-bed hospital with state-of-the-art facilities and highly skilled medical personnel to assist rescued people.
Not ready to leave anything to chance, the defence ministry readied its fourth, C-130 plane to take the rest of the necessary equipment to Kathmandu. This plane was to take-off at 9:30pm.
These same planes will be used for bringing back Indian tourists who are stranded in Kathmandu and Pokhra. Almost 650 passengers can be brought back by these planes, defence minister Manohar Parikkar said.
The union home ministry and national disaster management authority (NDMA) has set up 24X7 control rooms for information and assistance. These can be reached at: 011- 2309 3564, 23093566 (MHA Control Room ) and (NDMA Control Room) 011-26701728, 26701729, 9868881801.
Modi spoke to Nepal's President and Prime Minister, ensuring them of all possible assistance. He also spoke to the chief ministers of the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim and Madhya Pradesh, to assess the deaths and damage caused by the quake. Five NDRF teams have been sent to the states; one team to Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and one each to Darbhanga, Supaul, Motihari and Gopalganj in Bihar.