Republic of Korea Supports Nepal’s Earthquake Victims

South Korea was among the few countries to offers support and sending rescue and relief and medical teams

May 14, 2015, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 08 No. -21 May 08- 2015 (Baishakh 25, 2072)

Soon after earthquake hit Nepal, Ministry of Foreign Affairs  Ministry of Health and Welfare  Ministry of Public Safety and Security  of Republic of Korea sent  the 27 search and rescue officers in the Korea Disaster Rescue Team (KDRT), who were dispatched to Nepal in two batches on April 27 and May 1, respectively.

The team  returned on May 8, Korea 10 days after completion of  relief operations in Nepal. The search and rescue team carried out search and rescue operations as well as preventive anti-epidemic work mainly in Bhaktapur from April 28 through May 7.

 After the Nepalese government announced on May 2 its shift of focus from emergency relief operations to reconstruction and recovery work, the majority of rescue teams from the US, China, Japan, Malaysia, Russia and other countries have returned home.

 According to Korean Embassy in Nepal, the medical workers in the KDRT sent to Nepal on May 1 are performing surgeries and other medical services at the Korea-Nepal Friendship Hospital, east of Kathmandu. Nine of the medical workers will return home on May 11 as initially planned.

 The surgical operations performed by the KDRT in addition to its general outpatient services marked their first kind by a KDRT, representing the expanded scope of medical services to be offered overseas by the Republic of Korea.

 Amid the sharp decrease in the demand for medical services in the area where the Korean medical team is working, the ROK government, instead of sending the second batch of ten medical workers, has decided to have six in the first batch remain in Nepal for further services.

 The ROK government is drawing up a comprehensive plan for supporting Nepal’s reconstruction and recovery efforts after the emergency relief operations in Nepal are wrapped up.

Along with these support, ROK is also plan to send more KDRT Workers and Provide 500,000 US Dollars’ Worth of Goods to Nepal to Assist the Country to Recover from Earthquake.

In addition to  sending ten search and rescue officers, the government of the Republic of Korea decided to send 32 more emergency relief workers to Nepal on May 1, taking into account the reports on the situation on the ground and recommendations of an advance team, dispatched to Nepal on April 27 to assist the country to recover from the recent earthquake.

 The relief team to be dispatched consists of 15 search and rescue officers, 15 medical workers and 2 support personnel. Two rescue dogs will also be sent together.

 The 15 search and rescue officers, together with the 10 rescue officers already sent to Nepal, will conduct search and rescue operations in Bhaktapur.

 The 15 medical personnel will provide medical services at the Korea-Nepal Friendship Hospital, established in Thimi by the Foreign Ministry’s KOICA as part of its grant aid projects.

Immediately after sending an advance team and the first batch of search and rescue officers on April 27, the ROK government decided where to conduct relief operations, in close consultation with the Nepalese government. In particular, the ROK government was able to secure a base for emergency relief operations promptly and effectively by deciding to use the Korea-Nepal Friendship Hospital, built as part of the government’s grant aid projects, as a facility for medical relief activities.

 The use of the Friendship Hospital is expected to become an exemplary case of efficiently linking the ROK government’s ODA project with humanitarian assistance.

The additional dispatch of 32 workers on May 1 will bring the total number of the ROK government’s emergency relief personnel sent to Nepal to 42. As the demand for medical services is expected to continue to rise due to increasing number of the injured, the second batch of 12-member medical team (10 medical workers and 2 support personnel) will also be sent after the medical personnel sent to Nepal on May 1 complete their operation for about ten days.

Initially, the ROK government estimated the number of relief personnel to be sent at 40, but decided to expand it to 54, considering the need to send more medical workers following the decision to use the Korea-Nepal Friendship Hospital, as well as the demand for search and rescue workers in Bhaktapur.

 As the Nepalese government and the UN appealed for urgent donations of goods, the ROK government decided to provide 500,000 US dollars in in-kind donations among the 1 million US dollars the government already pledged. The goods will be sent to Nepal by a special plane leaving for Nepal on April 30 and a regular flight departing on May 1.

 The in-kind donations consist of tents, blankets and other supplies most needed for emergency relief activities on the ground.

 The remaining 500,000 US dollars will be donated promptly through international organizations, including the UN and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).   

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