Operation Sahayogi Haat / Helping Hand
The April 25, 2015, magnitude 7.8 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal killed thousands, and injured many more. The United Nations said more than 8 million people had been affected by the earthquake and at least 2 million had been displaced. The United Nations and numerous non-governmental organizations seeking to assist quake-stricken Nepal blamed the country’s weak government, with a reputation for inefficiency and corruption, for hindering the massive relief effort.
The possibility for aftershocks of significant magnitude persists. Infrastructure is fragile and access to basic resources, including healthcare, could be limited. Cell phone and internet service are intermittent. In Kathmandu and elsewhere, some buildings are collapsed and some roads are impassable. Many roads are crowded with people and transportation is difficult. Kathmandu’s airport and Lukla’s airport have been re-opened since the earthquake; however, they may close temporarily without notice due to aftershocks or inclement weather.
US military earthquake relief efforts in Nepal led by Joint Task Force 505 have been named “Operation Sahayogi Haat,” which means “Helping Hand” in Nepali, by US Pacific Command based out of Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii.
Joint Task Force 505 was activated to support the government of Nepal by conducting humanitarian disaster relief operations to limit further loss of life and suffering in response to the devastating earthquake that struck central Nepal on April 25.
Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, designated Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Wissler, commanding general of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, as the joint task force’s commander, effective today.
Activation of the task force followed the initial U.S. military response to support Nepal’s government, joining the efforts already underway by the Joint Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team and the U.S. Agency for International Development and Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance Disaster Assistance Response Team, as well as urban search and rescue teams already delivered to Nepal by Air Force C-17 transport jets.
JTF 505 has been working with the government of Nepal in support of joint humanitarian disaster relief operations to limit further loss of life and human suffering in response to the devastating magnitude-7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck central Nepal on April 25.
The task force had been supporting ongoing disaster relief operations with a U.S. Air Force Contingency Response Group, three Marine Corps UH-1Y Huey helicopters, four Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, four Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft and two Marine Corps KC-130J Hercules aircraft, as well as various ground and aviation command and control capabilities since May 4.
By 10 May 2015, JTF 505 in tandem with the U.S. Agency for International Development had delivered approximately 49.9 tons of relief supplies, transported 273 personnel and had conducted more than 68.9 hours of flight time throughout affected areas of Nepal.
JTF 505 Forward consisted of approximately 300 U.S. military personnel on the ground in Nepal supporting the multinational relief efforts. JTF 505 Main in Okinawa, Japan, and an Intermediate Staging Base in Thailand consisted of approximately 590 U.S. military personnel.
Joint Task Force 505 MV-22B Ospreys deployed in support of Operation Sahayogi Haat departed Nepal 21 May 2015. The Osprey's were no longer required as the government of Nepal and the international aid community have increased their capacity to continue the necessary delivery of aid to those in need. Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262, based out of Okinawa, Japan, arrived in Nepal to support JTF 505 May 4 in response to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal April 25.
The MV-22B Ospreys, in coordination with the government of Nepal and the US Agency for International Development, were chosen because of their unique capabilities, which include the ability to deploy directly to Nepal and immediately begin to deliver aid, take off and land without a runway and carry large amounts of cargo farther distances than traditional rotary wing aircraft.
Joint Task Force 505 MV-22B Ospreys deployed in support of Operation Sahayogi Haat departed Nepal, May 21. The Osprey’s were no longer required as the government of Nepal and the international aid community increased their capacity to continue the necessary delivery of aid to those in need.
During its service in Operation Sahayogi Haat the MV-22B Osprey flew approximately 115 hours over the course of 75 missions, distributed 134,000 pounds of relief supplies, and transported 300 personnel and conducted 40 casualty evacuations.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|