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India sends emergency relief to earthquake-hit Nepal, reaffirms PM Modi's 'Neighbourhood First' policy

New Delhi: India on Sunday sent an emergency aid package, comprising medical equipment, relief materials and more, for people affected by the magnitude 6.4 earthquake in Nepal.

The strong temblor, which even jolted the national capital and parts of north India, left 157 dead and scores injured.

Serving as the first responder, India shipped essential medicines and relief materials to assist the earthquake-affected communities.

This rapid response aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Neighbourhood First Policy," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, emphasising India's commitment to supporting its neighbouring nations in times of crisis.

"Providing emergency relief assistance to earthquake-affected areas of Nepal. As a first responder, India delivers medicines and relief material. PM Narendra Modi's Neighbourhood First policy in action," EAM Jaishankar posted from his official handle on X.

The first consignment of Rs 10 crore worth of emergency relief materials arrived at Nepalgunj, Nepal, on Sunday, the Indian Embassy in Nepal informed through an official release.

A special Indian Air Force C-130 flight transported the consignment of over 11 tonnes of emergency relief materials, including tents and tarpaulin sheets, blankets, and sleeping bags, as well as essential medicines and medical equipment such as portable ventilators, for the affected people, it said.

The relief materials were handed over by the Ambassador of India to Nepal, Naveen Srivastava, on behalf of the Indian government to Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Purna Bahadur Khadka, in the presence of Chief Minister of Karnali, Raj Kumar Sharma.

Further consignments of relief materials from India are expected to arrive in the erstwhile Himalayan kingdom in the coming days.

As a close friend and neighbour, India remains committed to extending all possible support to those affected by the earthquake in Nepal, the MEA added.

The emergency aid package to Nepal reaffirmed India's commitment to be the first responder in crisis situations in its neighbourhood and beyond. Following the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, New Delhi was the first responder as it carried out its largest disaster relief operation abroad -- 'Operation Maitri'.

India had also extended USD 1 billion to Nepal as part of its long-term assistance for post-earthquake reconstruction in the housing, education, health, and cultural heritage sectors, which included the reconstruction of 50,000 houses in Nepal's Gorkha and Nuwakot districts, the MEA release said.

Meanwhile, Nepal's Ministry of Home Affairs, in collaboration with the Armed Police Force and UNICEF, dispatched critical relief supplies to Jajarkot and Rukum West in Nepal. The relief materials include 6,263 tarps, 1,250 tents, 300 blankets, and 2,050 sleeping bags, all aimed at providing essential shelter and comfort to the affected families.
Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha, along with a team of ministers and lawmakers, took the lead in delivering these relief supplies to the affected areas. The team comprises Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Prakash Jwala, Health Minister Mohan Bahadur Basnet, Energy Minister Shakti Basnet, and MP Janardan Sharma, among others.

Nepal's Prime Minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also emphasised the importance of relief and rescue efforts in the affected regions. He noted that while relief and rescue operations have been conducted in a certain manner thus far, further intensified efforts are in the pipeline. In a significant decision, the Cabinet has decided to adopt a new approach, including the construction of earthquake relief homes, for resettlement in the affected areas. This approach will prioritise the pre-positioning of disaster relief materials in all districts, according to the Nepal PMO.

Even as the search and rescue operation for the Nepal earthquake ends, the focus has shifted to mobilising aid to those affected by the disaster. Home Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha highlighted the importance of extending assistance to those affected by the earthquake.

"The search and rescue operation for the Nepal earthquake is over," Home Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha told ANI.

This earthquake not only impacted Nepal but also sent tremors across several districts of North India, including Delhi-NCR, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences for the lives lost and the extensive damage caused by the earthquake in Nepal. He reaffirmed India's willingness to extend all possible assistance to Nepal in the aftermath of this natural disaster.

The Director of the National Center for Seismology (NCS), OP Mishra, underlined on Saturday how the building structures contributed to exacerbating the damage from the earthquake.

He emphasised that while the intensity in Nepal was significant, the magnitude of 6.4 was a measure of its energy content, and it is the structures that determine the extent of damage and loss during such events. (ANI)

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