Brunei sends relief team to Nepal

National 2 minutes, 9 seconds


BRUNEI has sent an eight-man military contingent to Nepal to provide medical support and assist with search and rescue efforts to victims of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which has already claimed over 5,000 lives.

The relief effort mission, which includes two doctors and four paramedics from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) and Brunei’s Gurkha Reserve Unit (GRU), left Brunei yesterday.

RBAF Lieutenant Colonel Dr Muhammad Hiza Wardy Hj Abd Halim who is leading the team told The Brunei Times that his contingent of five Bruneians and three Gurkhas are expected to be stationed in Nepal for at least two weeks.

He also said his team is ready and experienced enough for the task at hand.

“We will be providing humanitarian relief assistance, specifically in medical support and search and rescue operations,” said Lieutenant Col Dr Muhammad, who has previously represented RBAF as part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

Major Bishankumar Rai Dewan representing GRU said the Gurkhas would focus on supporting the team by providing logistical support, translation and medical expertise.

“All three of us Gurkhas are from Kathmandu itself, so we hope to contribute our experience of the area in terms of liaison, interpreting and provide medical support to the injured,” said Major Bishankumar.

Dr Santosh Giri, who has previously served as a doctor in Khatmandu, is also part of the contingent.

Major Bishankumar is counting on his “detailed knowledge on the professional lay out in Kathmandu” to “contribute massively” to the relief mission, codenamed Operasi Kukri.

“From what we have heard, there has been massive amounts of aid being sent through air, but the infrastructure and logistical support in Nepal cannot currently cope,” he said.

“Since existing logistical plans are currently struggling, the be distribution of medical support and food and water to the affected districts is vital.”

Meanwhile, only one out of the 83 GRU personnel currently on leave in Nepal has yet to be accounted for. He is believed to be in Northern India, with the GRU in Brunei and their Liaison Officer in Kathmandu still trying to make contact.

“Of the two GRU personnnel that have been injured and are recovering in private hospitals, one has suffered serious head injuries while the other has broken limbs,” said Major Bishankumar.

Deputy Minisiter of Defence Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa Hj Sirat and Commander of the RBAF Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Major General Dato Paduka Seri Mohd Tawih Abdullah sent off the contingent yesterday at the Brunei International Airport. Members of the Defence Executive Committee and family members of the contingent were also present.

The Brunei Times