KATHMANDU – The Self-Defense Forces’ medical relief team wrapped up its mission in earthquake-hit Nepal on Wednesday with a ceremony held at Tudikhel grounds in central Kathmandu.
During the event, Nepalese Health Secretary Shanta Bahadur Shrestha and Nepal Army Maj. Gen. Kishore Jung Rana thanked the Japanese medical team as well as the country’s search and rescue team, which has already left Nepal, for its help in the aftermath of last month’s magnitude-7.8 earthquake.
Japanese Ambassador to Nepal Masashi Ogawa said Japan had experience dealing with rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts after big earthquakes and was willing to continue to help Nepal.
The Japanese medical relief team treated nearly 3,000 Nepalese people during its operation that began April 30.
The April 25 quake, its aftershocks and another powerful quake on May 12 have left at least 8,624 people dead and 21,777 people injured, according to police.
The disaster completely destroyed about 500,000 houses and damaged a further 270,000 across the country, according to the Home Ministry.
Hundreds of thousands of people are still living in tent camps, either because their houses have collapsed or because they are scared to live indoors due to the possibility that further quakes may cause extensive damage to their home.
Nepal’s Planning Commission Vice Chairman Govind Raj Pokharel said the country needed more than a million more tents and tarps to cope with the situation, despite distributing about 500,000 so far.
Shelter remained a major challenge, especially given the monsoon season was less than a month away.