Indian Air Force evacuates 3000 from Nepal

NEW DELHI - The number of people evacuated from Nepal by the Indian Air Force (IAF) reached 3,358 as another flight carrying the evacuees landed in India on Friday, the defence ministry said.

"One of the last sorties of C-17 from KTM (Kathmandu) to Palam. Total pax brought back by IAF fixed wing a/c 3,358," Defence spokesperson Sitanshu Kar tweeted.

The Indian Air Force conducted 311 fixed wing aircraft sorties since the efforts started on last Saturday after Nepal was hit by a quake.

They also transported around 571.65 tonnes of relief material. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, along with India Ambassador in Nepal Ranjit Rae along with Maj. Gen J.S. Sandhu flew over Gorkha district and landed at Barpak where they interacted with residents.

The rescue operations, assisted by the Indian Army, meanwhile, continues as the army relief convoys moving by road started arriving in Kathmandu on Friday.

Five Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) of the army continue to be deployed for rescue efforts in Pokhra and adjoining areas in spite of weather and terrain limitations.

Officials said army aviation conducted 77 sorties and evacuated 94 casualties apart from rescuing 363 people on Thursday alone.

Army choppers are also being used for transporting troops, and delivering relief material to inaccessible areas, along with helicopters and other aircraft of the IAF.

Six Medium Lift Helicopters (MLH) of the IAF are, meanwhile, positioned at Kathmandu and two at Pokhara.

The most affected areas where casualty evacuation were carried in the past few days are Chautara, Charkot, Dhading, Melum, Lukla, Aroghat, Dhunche, Trishuli, Ramchap, Barpak, Narayan Chor, Namchi Bazar and Tatopani, an official statement said.

The field hospitals of army set up at Sinamangal and Lagankhel provided medical assistance to 261 people on Thursday and also conducted nine surgeries.

Medical teams operating as part of army's outreach assistance in Barpak and elsewhere in Gorkha provided medical aid to 392 people.

Engineer Task Forces in Barpak, Basantpur and Jorbat continued clearing task to reach out to far-flung areas.

Officials said on Friday that 150 metres of track has been cleared and 130 cubic metre of debris have been removed in these areas. The Task Forces are also enabling access to casualties by clearing debris and collapsed buildings.

Seven bodies have been recovered and one shelter has also been constructed at Barpak village in Gorkha district.

Road convoys carrying tents, blankets, tarpaulins and plastic sheets, meanwhile, started reaching Kathmandu on Friday.

In addition, 550 tents and two RO Plants apart from 12 tonnes water have been dispatched from New Delhi by IAF flights to Kathmandu, officials said.

A communication detachment with two satellite terminals for communication from Kathmandu and Pokhara have also been inducted on Friday, officials added.