India's disaster management capabilities quite advanced: US

Washington, May 21:  The US has praised India for its "remarkable" response to the devastating earthquake in Nepal, describing the country's disaster management capabilities as sophisticated and advanced.

"That capability in India today is quite sophisticated, quite advanced. That capability was on display in Nepal as part of India's response to the earthquake," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on Nepal.

Also read: High-level Indian team arrives in Nepal, to assess post-disaster needs

India's rescue efforts in Nepal praised

"We have seen a remarkable response by the neighboring countries, certainly, the Indian government and the Indian military," she said yesterday. Biswal said the US could feel proud for the role it has played around the region in investing in disaster response capabilities.

"There's more to be done in trying to foster more regional coordination and advance planning of regional responses, there is so much capability in the region today and the experiences of many of these countries in their own earthquakes is something that we have a direct hand," she said.

"The recent super cyclone that hit Orissa was a tremendous reflection of India's capabilities because the loss of life was minimal in a Category 5 super cyclone," she said.

India was one of the first countries to rush to Nepal's rescue during the quake

The US has played a role in enhancing India's disaster management capabilities, Biswal said. "After the devastating Gujarat earthquake of 2001, Congress appropriated and USAID implemented over a number of years a partnership between the government of India and the US on creating a national disaster management agency. We provided some of the technical expertise," she said.

Also read: UN calls for urgent aid for Nepal earthquake survivors

Biswal said quake-hit Nepal would need a lot of international support to address the developmental challenges. "We don't want to take it over from them, but we want them to succeed and there will be an element of partnership over the coming months in helping them get this right," she said.

Biswal also praised regional response to the Nepal earthquake. "Assistance was mobilized by Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Thailand. It's been a tremendous outpouring of effort from within the region and across Asia.

That has been a really important indicator of the increasing capabilities throughout Asia to respond to humanitarian disasters," Biswal said.

"A lot of that is work that has been done by the United States, working with our partners across Asia to build capacity. Both our Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and our military have invested a tremendous amount of effort over the past decades in building disaster response capabilities," she added.


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