New Delhi, May 4:
India will be bringing back its rescue teams from Nepal after the Himalayan nation asked all such teams from 34 countries to withdraw, nine days after a devastating earthquake that has claimed over 7300 lives.
“Rescue teams from all 34 nations have been asked to withdraw as it is now nine days since the quake,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Monday.
The spokesperson said while the rescue operations were over, the next phase of operations to provide relief and rebuild the nation will continue.
“Search and rescue phase is over. Indian relief efforts will continue,” he tweeted.
He said Nepal had asked for earth-moving equipment to assist in clearing debris.
A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) official said their troops will start coming back following the decision.
“Rescue teams from 34 countries would return as there is no chance of finding a living person in the debris,” Deputy Inspector General (Operations) S.S. Guleria told IANS.
NDRF had deployed 16 teams in Nepal which worked with Nepalese agencies in quake-affected areas to help save lives.
Guleria said that while some NDRF teams will travel back to India through road, others will be flown back in Indian Air Force planes which carry relief material to Nepal.
He said it was “part of normal protocol” for rescue teams to leave a quake affected area after eight-nine days.
India was among the first to react and move to Nepal’s aid after the devastating 7.9-magnitude quake hit the Himalayan nation on April 25. The Indian Army, Indian Air Force, and disaster relief teams under the home ministry were rushed to Nepal, while tonnes of relief material was also sent.
The toll across Nepal from the devastating April 25 earthquake has surged to 7,365, according to the latest update by the country’s home ministry. (IANS)