USAID DART Rescues Woman From Building in Nepal

By May 14, 2015LACoFD News
U.S. Agency for International Development's Disaster Assistance Response Team urban search and rescue members rescued a 41-year-old woman from a 4-story building in Singati. The team provided medical care to her & 11 others overnight until helicopters returned to fly them to Kathmandu. Photo courtesy USAID.

A U.S. Disaster Assistance Response Team that includes members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department rescued a 41-year-old woman from a four-story building in Nepal on Tuesday night, less than 24 hours after a magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck.

The DART was originally deployed at the request of the Nepali government by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance on April 25 following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake the same day. The U.S. Geological Survey believes Tuesday’s earthquake was an aftershock to the April 25 quake.

On Tuesday, the USAID DART’s urban search and rescue (USAR) team pulled the woman from the rubble in the village of Singati, which is about 50 miles east of Kathmandu and in the same district as the epicenter of Tuesday’s earthquake. Local residents informed USAID USAR members of the trapped woman, and the rescue operation took about four hours.

USAID USAR members provided medical care to the woman, in addition to 11 other people, overnight in Singhati until helicopters returned to fly the patients and the team to Kathmandu.

USAID USAR staff, U.S. military personnel and Nepal Army first responders have treated more than 40 people airlifted by the U.S. military at a triage center at Tribhuvan International Airport. These patients were later transported to local medical facilities.

The airport medical teams are using medical supplies airlifted by the USAID DART on May 10.

The DART comprises 133 people, including 22 USAID disaster experts, a 54-person USAR team from Fairfax, Virginia, known as USA-1; a 57-person USAR team from Los Angeles County known as USA-2, which includes Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel; and 12 canines—six from each USAR team.

While in Nepal, the USAID DART has coordinated the U.S. government’s response efforts, conducted search and rescue operations, surveyed dozens of structures for earthquake damage, and done aerial assessments over areas made inaccessible by landslides to identify humanitarian needs.

The Nepali government said that the initial earthquake, which the U.N. estimates affected 8 million people, and its aftershocks killed 8,250 people and injured more than 16,800 others. More than 543,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. Authorities expect these figures to rise.

USA-2, known domestically as California Task Force 2, has partnerships with USAID/OFDA for international missions and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for domestic responses. The team maintains constant operational readiness for both international and domestic deployments.

For more information on Nepal and how to donate to disaster relief efforts, visit www.usaid.gov/nepal-earthquake or www.cidi.org, or contact the Center for International Disaster Information at 202-821-1999.