General

Satisfied with coordination of foreign relief aid, says Army chief

- Post Report, KATHMANDU
Satisfied with coordination of foreign relief aid, says Army chief

May 2, 2015-

Nepal is satisfied with the level of coordination with the Nepal Army and among foreign militaries carrying out relief missions the last few days in quake-hit areas, according to Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Gaurav SJB Rana.

Given the size of the Great Earthquake and the logistics involved in the subsequent relief operations, coordination was always going to be difficult, said CoAS Rana on Friday at a press briefing organised at the Army Headquarters. “This is nothing unique about Nepal. It takes a while to get the coordination right,” he said.

Asked if he was content with coordination among foreign missions and between the Nepal Army and the civilian leadership, Rana said that it was important to be patient. “If we have decided to seek international assistance, we can’t afford to be too demanding,” said Rana.

“We are aware of our national interest, which is now to look after the people who have suffered.”

The Nepal Army had invited a select group of editors to explain its position following news reports quoting Nepali officials expressing displeasure over the lack of coordination between the Nepal Army and foreign missions.

An International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) team, supposed to arrive within 30 hours of a disaster, had failed to do so, claimed CoAS Rana. “The Nepal Army and the police moved in immediately,” he said. It was important to operate within the National Disaster Relief Framework (NDRF), said Rana. “We were trained for this and we knew there were certain choke points, one of which is the [Kathmandu] airport.”

“There’s massive international support and it will reach the needy,” explained Rana. “But large cargo planes have arrived and we don’t have the airlift capacity.”

“The existing [relief] framework needs to be followed, not duplicated. We have the Indian Air Force in one sector, the Chinese and Americans in another,” said Rana. He also spoke on allegations that relief materials were taxed at the borders. “I have asked the prime minister and the finance minister to look into it,” he said.

Published: 02-05-2015 08:59

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