The 57 members of USA Task Force 2—known domestically as California Task Force 2—were honored by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday afternoon for USA-2’s service in Nepal.
“Throughout the world—wherever there’s an earthquake disaster—these are the men and women who have been certified” to help, said Los Angeles County Mayor Michael Antonovich.
USA-2 was one of two U.S. urban search and rescue (USAR) teams sent to Nepal after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck the country on April 25. The teams were deployed that day by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance at the request of the Nepali government.
After spending 19 days searching for victims in Nepal, the team returned home in groups from May 15 – 17.
“It’s a happy day here to see you back, and we continue to praise our Los Angeles County Fire Department,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis during Tuesday’s presentation.
While in Nepal, USA-2 assisted with the rescue of a 15-year-old boy five days after the April 25 earthquake and a 41-year-old woman less than 24 hours after a magnitude 7.3 aftershock on May 12. USAID team members also assisted with the treatment of more than 40 people at a triage center at Tribhuvan International Airport and in the town of Charikot.
In all, more than 8,200 people were killed and more than 16,800 others were injured in the two earthquakes, according to figures from the Nepali government.
“These firefighters, these engineers, these doctors, the dog handlers—what they do is above and beyond their normal job,” Fire Chief Daryl Osby said during the presentation. He noted that USA-2 is one of only two USAR teams that USAID sends with its international disaster assistance response teams.
“(The) lessons they learned (in Nepal) and brought home make sure we can better respond to citizens in Los Angeles County,” Osby said.
Photo gallery: The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recognizes USA-2 for its service in Nepal. Photos by La Fonda Riggins and Diandra Jay.