India Wraps Up Operation Maitri In Nepal

This week India announced the end of Operation Maitri, the earthquake relief efforts in Nepal.

Operation Maitri was launched within a few minutes of the devastating earthquake that rocked Nepal on April 25, 2015. More than 8,500 were killed in the earthquake, including 16 climbers on Mount Everest when an avalanche swept across the Base Camp.

Photo Credit: Ministry of Defense, India

This is the largest support mission by India in response to a natural calamity abroad.

During the 40 days of relief operation, Indian aircrafts carried over 1,700 tonnes of relief material in 2,223 helicopter sorties. The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Army Mi-17 and ALH helicopters flew more than 50 sorties every day, out of the airports in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

“11,200 people, including 780 casualty evacuations”, were moved to safety during Operation Maitri, tweeted Sitanshu Kar, Spokesperson from India’s Ministry of Defense.

Besides delivering relief supplies to remote area of Nepal and evacuating people to safer ground, India set up a Rapid Action Medical Team, near Kathmandu’s international airport, which treat more than 4700 injuries, including 300 surgeries.

On Thursday, June 4, IAF’s C-17 Globemaster III aircrafts carried the last contingents of Operation Maitri back to India from Nepal.

“Maitri means friendship,” said Abhay Kumar, Spokesperson at the Indian Embassy in Nepal. “Indians have not only opened their wallets, but their hearts too. There has been an outpouring of support from more than a dozen States and many private civilian-led initiatives.”

India’s relief operations on the ground have come to an end, but Nepal continues to battle it’s post-earthquake challenges. Besides the almost daily aftershocks, the upcoming monsoon season is expected to start within the next two weeks. The unrelenting rains and strong gusts of wind will threaten the tens of thousands of people living in temporary shelters, and increase the risk of landslides in mountains across Nepal.

You can support Nepal by continuing to follow the news in the upcoming weeks, contributing to NGOs with strong local partnerships and planning a vacation in Nepal after September this year.

If you’re enjoyed reading this article, you should follow me on Twitter at @amrit_sharma.
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