Specialised Gift of the Givers team ready to respond to Nepal quake

Cape Town - Disaster response organisation Gift of the Givers has put together a search and rescue team for Nepal, after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the region on Saturday.

Twenty highly qualified search and rescue personnel and twenty trauma specialists were on standby, according to a statement on its website on Sunday.

The team’s resources included a machine that could accurately predict the presence of life 10m beneath the rubble in three minutes, a search camera, and medical equipment that could function as a mobile emergency hospital.

“The total package of all equipment and supplies that we intend taking to Nepal is valued at around R5m.  This excludes all the essential basic items like tents, food, blankets, bottled water and related items that will be purchased in India.”

The foundation anticipated that it would be restricted by the closure of Kathmandu Airport to commercial flights, the availability of visas to a neighbouring country and access to Nepal through the neighbouring country.

“Given the logistical difficulties in getting to Nepal, Gift of the Givers in all likelihood will be chartering its own flight to carry its search and rescue teams, medical personnel, equipment and essential supplies,” it said.

Gift of the Givers logistics co-ordinator Estelle van Jaarsveld confirmed that the charter flight was set to depart on Wednesday and return around Friday.

The foundation was inviting South Africans caught up in Nepal to use the private aircraft to return home without cost. Interested individuals could contact Van Jaarsveld on 083 287 5988.

Media reports stated that around 2 500 people were killed in the quake, while rescue efforts continued.

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