The U.S. government, in partnership with the Government of Nepal, through the National Society for Earthquake Technology, commemorated the close of the Collapsed Structure Search and Rescue and Medical First Responder training course at the Nepal Police Disaster Management Division. The course is part of the Program for Enhancement of Emergency Response (PEER) supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Since 1998, USAID’s PEER activities have built the capacity of more than 1,100 professional first responders in Asia, including approximately 245 from the Nepal Police, Nepal Armed Police Force, Nepalese Army, and Nepal Red Cross Society. During the response to the April 25 earthquake, the Armed Police Force dispatched a total of 45 emergency response teams for search and rescue in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Gorkha, Sindhupalchowk, Nuwakot, and Dolakha. There were 35 PEER graduates mobilized to support this effort. As a result, 345 lives were saved.
According to a press release issued by Public Affairs Section of Embassy of The United States, speaking during the closing ceremony, USAID/Nepal Mission Director Beth Dunford said, “Almost two decades of disaster risk reduction investment in Nepal, the country has been put to test during the recent Gorkha earthquake, which has been one of the most challenging times in Nepal’s history. Our PEER partner organizations were on full alert and immediately mobilized response teams for the search and rescue, contributing to the Government of Nepal’s efforts to address the most critical needs.”
The PEER also works in partnership with the Institute of Medicine to run the Hospital Preparedness for Emergencies (HOPE) course since 2003 and with the Nepal Red Cross Society to administer the Community Action for Disaster Response course since 2009. There are now 318 HOPE graduates and 678 CADRE volunteers in Nepal who are better prepared to respond to disasters.