With India and other countries rushing their relief and rescue teams to Nepal, Kathmandu is feeling the strain on its already stretched resources. While India has already sent 13 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, three more are on their way.
Each NDRF team has about 45 personnel. This does not include the Indian Air Force and Army personnel who have also been sent.
According to data available with the Indian agencies, Israel has sent the second largest team with 299 personnel, followed by China with 253, including 60 medical personnel.
Pakistan has sent 66 personnel, Turkey 36, Bangladesh 30, Sri Lanka 49, Netherlands 60, Germany 50, Spain 34, Poland 81 and Bhutan 62. Poland and Germany have also sent ten and five dogs respectively. Besides, an Urban Search and Rescue Team is also camping in Kathmandu.
A multi-nation coordination centre has been operationalised by the Nepal Army to coordinate relief efforts. Like the NDRF teams, most of the foreign teams have carried their own tents.
The Indian Army and Air Force personnel are stationed at the military base area of the Kathmandu airport. The Indian embassy is coordinating the Indian relief operations.
On Tuesday, the Nepalese authorities asked the NDRF to relocate their base.
“After the deluge of people and rescue teams, the Nepalese Army is struggling to make arrangements. We decided not to trouble them and vacated the premises. The NDRF base will now be used by the Nepalese Army,” said a senior NDRF official.
A senior government official said the Nepalese authorities were not happy with the pace of work. “While they were getting impatient with the NDRF for the slow pace of rescue work, they were annoyed with the IAF and Indian Army also as they were taking a lot of time to unload the aircraft which take up space on the tarmac,” said the official.
There is huge congestion at the Kathmandu airport and the Nepalese authorities have asked India to speed up operations.
“There was a clear message from the government — not to bother the Nepalese authorities for any kind of resources or help. We have to be self-sufficient. Our men are sleeping in tents and we are trying not to hassle the authorities here,” said O P Singh, DG, NDRF.