Nepal deployment: conference hears about UKISAR’s role

The recent Nepal earthquake saw a number of UK fire and rescue staff deployed to assist in the search and rescue efforts.

Dave Ramscar gave an overview of the work and the outcomes of the deployment. he also told the conference that there has been more than150 aftershocks since the initial earthquake in April.

UKISAR works with DFID and other government departments  to assist with international search and rescue work. It is made up of a number of services across the country and provides a self sufficient heavy response service, which means the team is not a burden on the host country. 
More than 2.8 million people were displaced and is the largest natural disaster ever recorded in Nepal. There were four teams sent as part of the rescue effort, along with four dogs. UKISAR formed part of the United Nations plan. 

Over the following days, landing permits were being negotiated at Kathmandu airport to allow more UKISAR team members into the country to assist with the work. 

They set up at the British Embassy, which included pitching a number of tents there! He talked delegates through how the search is set up in different sectors, while also doing structural assessments of buildings to assess them and to see if they can be made safe. This included a hospital which was reopened a short time later to assist in the recovery, which meant surgical wards and hundreds of beds were made available. 

Road conditions, land slips and aftershocks meant getting out to more remote areas was slower than the team would have liked, but once there the first aid given provided invaluable to people who had sustained injuries in the earthquake. 

Helicopters were also used to reach more remote areas which meant more help for injured people who may have been missed in the week since the earthquake happened. 

Once the rescue phase closed down, the teams then prepared to exit the country and awaited government clearance to return to the UK.

Following their return, observations and evaluation took place, including difficulties landing in Kathmandu, the ‘tourism tax’ the team were asked to pay when they arrived and ensuring all rescue teams were aware of which areas had been searched. 

It was a fascinating overview of the work which took place and highlighted the difficulties the team faced, along with the hugely positive outcomes due to UKISAR’s work. 


Latest Nepal update

Subject: NEPAL RELEASE UPDATE04/05/2015


Just over a week on from the earthquake that hitNepal near the capital city of Kathmandu, 39 out of 75 districts have been affected and at least 46 aftershocks have been felt.



The UK International Search and Rescue (UKISAR) team deployed by the Department for International Development (DFID) has been playing a key role in the relief effort:


A 4 year old female child with a serious leg injury was evacuated to a field hospital for ongoing treatment and in another case a young boy’s broken arm was treated using a plastic bottle as a splint.


The remnants of an overhanging brick built column have now been successfully removed from the teaching hospital and a temporary measure to improve the stability of the water tank put in place.


Other work at the hospital is nearly complete which will allow 10 operating theatres and up to 400 beds to be put back into use within the next 24 hours and over the next two to three weeks another 400 beds will come online as minor repairs are completed by the hospital.


15 team members were airlifted by helicopters back into Sindupalchok and have completed needs assessments.


A team of 20 personnel have been travelling out to remote areas to make further assessments today.


The helicopters have allowed access to remote villages allowing vital work to continue.


Some of the seriously injured casualties had been evacuated by the Nepalese Army but many more injured residents remained these were triaged and provided with appropriate first aid treatment by UK ISAR medical teams.


The team operating in the Sindupalchok area have found the road blocked to vehicle traffic in several locations but this was cleared by heavy plant throughout the day.


A hydro power plant incapacitated due to the earth quake has been identified and a request has been sent for engineers to conduct repair work which would then provide power toChautara Valley.

The entire UKISAR deployment is being coordinated by an Incident Command Room which is being facilitated by West Midlands Fire Service.


Photos of four-year-old victim recovering available here, credit DFID/Russell Watkins:

Area Commander Paul Burnham issues an update from Nepal.