Nepal Earthquake

This section gives information and updates about Italian aid to the Chilean population hit by the earthquake. There is also a dedicated section for acts issued by the Italian Government in response to this international emergency.

On May 20, the team sent to Nepal to participate in rescue operations and international assistance to the population affected by the dramatic earthquake on April 25 returned to Italy. The earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.8, affected the entire central area of the country, between Kathmandu and the Everest mountain range, causing over 8,500 victims, about 19,000 injured, and extensive damage to public and private buildings and cultural heritage. Among the victims, four Italian.

The European Union Civil Protection Mechanism was promptly activated on April 25 to support the Nepalese government. Simultaneously, the Department sent an first evaluation team, composed of Department personnel and technicians from the National Fire Brigade Corps. The team worked with the local authorities to plan the Italian intervention in the affected areas and with the United Nations that, as foreseen in the international response system, supported the affected government by coordinating the international teams.

The operation was authorized by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of April 28, which allowed the start of relief and assistance activities, provided for in Ordinance No. 244 of April 28, 2015. On April 29, therefore, a second group departed, which integrated the team already operating on site, formed by 36 people including doctors, nurses and logisticians of the voluntary association of the Emergency Surgery Group of Pisa, Firefighters specialized in the assessment and securing of buildings and officials of the Department of Civil Protection.

Together with the operators, an Advanced Medical Post-PMA was also sent to Nepal, that is a light field hospital composed of five tents, a gazebo for triage and service areas for staff, technical intervention material and a container containing 12 self-standing tents. The health facility, according to the indications of the United Nations, was set up about 90 km north-west of Kathmandu, in the district of Nuwakot and more precisely in the village of Satbise, to assist patients in the area and those coming from more distant districts, which remained isolated for several days after the earthquake. Firefighters have been engaged in structural inspections of strategic buildings located in the district of Nuwakot, such as schools and hospitals, and in inspections of sites of cultural interest in Kathmandu. Always with the aim of carrying out structural assessments of buildings, an official of the Department also participated in the mission of the European team (European Union Civil Protection Team-Eucpt) with tasks related to the assessment of structural damage and then to support the National Association of Nepalese Engineers in some verification activities of buildings in Kathmandu and Chautara, a city on the outskirts of the capital.

At the end of the mission, Italy, in agreement with the Nepalese Government, donated the ambulatory structure of the Advanced Medical Post and part of the equipment to the district hospital of Trishuli, seriously damaged by the earthquake. In addition to the health structure, 12 four-arch tents were donated to replace some schools destroyed or declared unfit for use by the Fire Brigade in the Rasuwa district.

Overall, the Italian Government has allocated one million euros to the Nepalese population affected by the earthquake, ensuring the entire intervention, including the donation of goods and equipment to the local health authorities.

The field hospital was set up in the village of Satbise, in the district of Nuwakot, in an area where, after the earthquake, a tent city of about 300 people was set up. The structure, equipped to operate in contexts of serious emergencies, consisted of an area for stabilization of the wounded and first aid, an orthopedic department equipped to perform X-rays and ultrasound scans, a pediatric department, an operating room and a waiting area for the transfer of patients to other hospitals.

The field hospital was operational from 3 to 13 May: during this period, a total of more than 980 people from other districts, who were isolated for several days after the earthquake, were treated. More than 300 children were treated, including 100 under 5 years old. The PMA carried out mainly outpatient activities, while only twenty surgical interventions were performed.

The intervention of the Italian medical team, composed of 26 people, including emergency room doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, orthopedists, pediatricians, nurses and logisticians of the Pisa Emergency Surgery Group, was supervised by the World Health Organization (WHO), a specialized agency of the UN, which is generally responsible for coordinating assistance in the health sector and in particular the interventions of international medical teams.

The Fire Department team, divided into two groups, mainly carried out technical activities of damage assessment.

One group - composed by six people, including a team leader - supervised the transport and the setting up of the Pma and provided logistic support to the Italian camp. The same team also carried out an accurate damage assessment activity at the school buildings in the districts of Nuwakot and Rasuwa and set up, and then donated, 12 large tents to replace some of the destroyed schools. Local school staff were also trained on how to dismantle, reassemble and maintain the tents.

The second team - composed of four people including a team leader - worked more intensively in Kathmandu where it was mainly engaged in damage assessment surveys of buildings and residences of the European Union Delegation, the United Nations and the houses of compatriots living in the capital. The team was also involved in carrying out surveys at some of the sites recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, in particular at Bungamati, Khokana, Patan and Durban Square in Kathmandu and in designing temporary works at some of the most damaged sites in Patan and Durban Square, indicated by the local authorities. In total, the team conducted about 90 habitability checks, of which one-third were negative, one-third involved buildings with fixable damage, and one-third involved buildings with severe damage.

Among the victims of the earthquake there were also four compatriots. Two bodies were found in the days following the event of April 25th while the other two were found missing. The two victims were mountaineers from Trentino involved in the huge landslide on Mount Everest caused by the earthquake.

A mission of experts of Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologo-Cnsas and of the Department, in agreement with the Crisis Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, went to Nepal to locate the bodies, also following the request of the families of the two mountaineers.

The activity ended with the identification of the precise area where the victims were located at the time of the landslide. Their recovery was unfortunately, not possible.