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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

L.A. County Firefighters Arrive in Nepal to Rescue Earthquake Victims

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Photo: U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Roy A. Santana

 

The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s California Task Force 2—known internationally as USA-2—Medium Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team arrived in Nepal on Tuesday to assist with rescue and recovery efforts following Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake.

The 57-member team departed March Air Reserve Base on Sunday night.

The USAR team is part of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) that was deployed upon the request of Nepal’s government. The DART comprises nearly 130 people, including 14 USAID disaster experts, the Department’s 57-person USAR team and a 57-person USAR team from Fairfax, Virginia. The team also includes 12 canines—six from L.A. County.

The team is made up of specialized personnel, and includes all necessary equipment to make live rescues from collapsed structures and confined spaces. The U.S. is currently prioritizing search and rescue activities to help locate survivors trapped in the rubble and the provision of emergency shelter materials to help displaced families.

While DART USAR teams are engaged in lifesaving operations, USAID disaster experts are assessing damage in earthquake-affected areas and coordinating response efforts with the government of Nepal and international humanitarian partners on the ground.

In the coming days, USAID will be airlifting emergency shelter materials to Nepal from its warehouse in Dubai to help an estimated 30,000 – 35,000 people.

The UN estimates that the earthquake killed 3,350 people, injured more than 6,800 others, and affected 8 million people across 39 of Nepal’s 75 districts as of April 27. These figures are expected to rise as rescue efforts continue.

CA-TF2 has partnerships with both the Federal Emergency Management Agency for domestic responses and USAID/OFDA for international missions. The team maintains constant operational readiness for both domestic and international deployments.

For more information on Nepal and how to donate to disaster relief efforts, visit www.usaid.gov/nepal-earthquake or www.cidi.org, or contact the Center for International Disaster Information at 202-821-1999.

 

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