India promptly extended support by sending emergency relief to earthquake-hit Nepal thereby adhering to its “Neighbourhood First” policy. Its prompt humanitarian assistance speaks volumes about its commitment to supporting Nepal during these trying times.
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INDIA’S ASSISTANCE IN TRYING TIMES
In its firm commitment to extend all possible assistance to the earthquake-hit Nepal, India has sent an emergency aid package, consisting of medical equipment like portable ventilators, essential medicines, life-saving drugs and other relief measures for the earthquake-affected people in Nepal. As per the statement of the Indian Embassy at Kathmandu, the first consignment of emergency relief reached Nepal via a special Indian Airforce C130 flight in Nepalgunj. This included tents, blankets, tarpaulin sheets and sleeping bags along with medical assistance. Many more consignments are expected to reach Nepal in the coming days.
On behalf of the Indian government, these materials were handed over to the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Nepal, Purna Bahadur Khadka in the presence of the Chief Minister of Karnali, Raj Kumar Sharma. The government, in its statement, confirmed that as a friendly neighboring country to Nepal, India remains committed to providing all kinds of support to the victims of the earthquake in Nepal.
Even in 2015, when a massive earthquake hit Nepal, India was one of the first countries to respond swiftly. At that time, it carried out its largest relief operation- Operation Maitri. Through this operation, within six to seven hours, there was immediate dispatch of relief and rescue teams to Nepal. It also provided USD 1 billion to Nepal for reconstruction in the housing, health and education sectors in Nepal’s Gorkha and Nuwakot districts.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar mentioned that India’s rapid response adheres to its “Neighbourhood First” policy and its pledge to assist neighboring countries in times of crisis. Prime Minister Narendra Modi while expressing his condolences for the lost lives, affirmed the country’s willingness to support Nepal in the aftermath of this natural calamity.
A massive earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.4, has caused severe damage in the erstwhile Himalayan kingdom causing the tragic loss of at least 157 lives with many being severely injured. The epicentre of the earthquake was the Jajarkot district which is around 500km west of Kathmandu. This terrible natural calamity has destroyed hundreds of houses rendering many people homeless. This catastrophe was widely felt in western Nepal as well as in northern India in Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and some other places.
After the 2015 earthquake, this was the deadliest to strike the country. According to scientists and experts, Nepal lies at the boundary of the Indian and Eurasian plates. Hence it lies in a highly active seismic region which makes it the 11th-most earthquake-prone country in the world. The areas most affected by this catastrophe are Jajarkot and West Rukum.
Efforts are being undertaken to evacuate people. Ambulances in large numbers are being deployed and relief teams are being sent to the affected regions so that things can be restored to normalcy as fast as possible.
INDIA’S ASSISTANCE TO OTHER NATIONS
It has been India’s policy to help other nations during the hard times. In the past, it has carried out many disaster relief operations, especially in its neighborhood. During Hurricane Katrina, it delivered 25 tonnes of relief supplies which comprised 3000 blankets, bedsheets and items of personal hygiene. In the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami in Maldives, the government under “Operation Castor” announced relief measures including the provision of clean drinking water, setting up medical camps in ships and so on. In the 2011 Japan Tsunami, it sent 46 members of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to conduct rescue operations in the town of Onagawa which was its first overseas operation.