Home Team in Nepal hits highest ever deployment for overseas disaster relief ops

A SCDF Medical Officer examining a woman's leg. The Home Team hit its largest ever deployment for an overseas disaster relief operation with its number to Nepal totalling 126 officers. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK OF TEO CHEE HEAN
A SCDF Medical Officer examining a woman's leg. The Home Team hit its largest ever deployment for an overseas disaster relief operation with its number to Nepal totalling 126 officers. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK OF TEO CHEE HEAN
LTC Alvin Tan and his team of Gurkhas and SCDF officers departing for Laprak, Gorkha. The Home Team hit its largest ever deployment for an overseas disaster relief operation with its number to Nepal totalling 126 officers. -- PHOTO:  FACEBOOK OF
LTC Alvin Tan and his team of Gurkhas and SCDF officers departing for Laprak, Gorkha. The Home Team hit its largest ever deployment for an overseas disaster relief operation with its number to Nepal totalling 126 officers. -- PHOTO:  FACEBOOK OF TEO CHEE HEAN

SINGAPORE - The Home Team hit its largest ever deployment for an overseas disaster relief operation with its number to Nepal totalling 126 officers, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a press statement late Sunday.

They are in Nepal carrying out rescue and recovery operations and also providing humanitarian aid, MHA said.

The contingent comprises 66 SPF officers (including Gurkha officers) and 60 SCDF officers.

"The Home Team contingent has been working closely with the Nepalese authorities and other international assistance teams to carry out a range of disaster relief operations - search and rescue and recovery operations, disaster victim identification, rendering medical assistance and providing basic humanitarian supplies," the MHA noted.

With ground operations moving into the recovery phase, the contingent shifted its base of operations from Kathmandu to Pokhara, from where it is coordinating the humanitarian operations in Gorkha district, MHA said.

"As road connections have been damaged, our personnel and supplies have to be airlifted to Gorkha via helicopters," MHA said.

MHA said that its focus is on providing humanitarian aid, such as medical assistance and distribution of water, and basic food items, to the affected population.

"Many of our Gurkha officers come from the Gorkha district and are familiar with the terrain, language and local communities. With Gurkha officers in the HT contingent, we have been able to reach out effectively to many affected families."

Commenting on the mission, SCDF's Operation Lionheart Commander, LTC Alvin Tan, said: "We stand together with the Nepalese people in this time of need, and we are determined to help where we can. From our ground assessments, Gorkha district is one of the places in urgent need of humanitarian aid."

In some remote villages such as Laprak, 90 per cent of the houses have collapsed, with many fatalities, and this is where we are focusing our efforts to provide much needed essential supplies and medical assistance, MHA said.

Road access to some areas has also been disrupted by landslides, and certain paths are hazardous for travelling. Temperatures have also dropped to 10 deg C.

SPF's contingent commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police Lian Ghim Hua, said: "My heart goes out to the victims and survivors of the Nepal earthquake and to the families. My officers and I are working tirelessly round the clock to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need.

"We are looking to reach out to villages in the Gorkha region, which is close to the epicentre of the earthquake."