Nepal Army Air Service: Many lives saved!
Jajarkot, Jan. 22: The air service operated by the Western Command of the Nepal Army has saved the lives of many civilians. Many lives have been saved after the decentralized army started air service from Birendranagar in Surkhet under the Western Command recently.
The Western Command has been working in Karnali, Far West and Lumbini. It has been assisting the people affected by maternity and natural calamities and disasters by rescuing them through air service under the Western Command of the Nepal Army and bringing them to a well-equipped place for treatment. On 17 September 2076, the Nepal Army under the Western Command established the Western Air Service in Birendranagar and started the rescue operation. Initially, flights from Kathmandu have been flying from Surkhet to three states since September 3, 2010.
The army has established western command by connecting three provinces. Lumbini’s Banke, Bardia, Far West and the whole of Karnali have been covered by the Western Air Base. According to Rachhan Shrestha, technical chief of the western command, three helicopters and a flight crew were also on standby for the rescue operation. So far this year alone, 48 pregnant and lactating women have been rescued and brought to affluent areas. According to the Western Aviation Office, 27 other rescue operations have been carried out. In 2077 BS, 34 pregnant women, 23 others and in 2076 BS, 35 pregnant women and 19 others were rescued, said Chief Fighter Shrestha.
Locals said that the rescue operation was speeded up with the establishment of air base in the west. The army has been rescuing those injured in road accidents, floods, landslides and avalanches in the western region by helicopter. Similarly, the Nepal Army has been flying in relief distribution. Major General Prem Shahi of the Western Command said that the army has been serving the people even after deploying its own medical team in case of natural calamity. The general public in the area is demanding that the Western Command air base still be operated at full capacity. Most of the pregnant women from West Air Base have been rescued from Dolpa, Humla, Mugu and Jajarkot.
The army has been carrying out the rescue work through the Presidential Women’s Rescue Fund. The Presidential Women’s Upliftment Program was started in the fiscal year 2075/76 BS. In remote mountainous and hilly areas, the army has been working to rescue women who are at risk of death due to health problems during pregnancy and childbirth. The army has been trying to save lives by rescuing them and bringing them to health facilities that provide quality health care.
The procedure for air rescue was implemented by the ministerial decision of October 12, 2008. There is also an arrangement to provide a lump sum of Rs. The 18 districts to be fully airlifted are Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha, Bhojpur, Khotang, Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga, Manang, Mustang, Rukumpur, Rukum West, Jajarkot, Dolpa, Kalikot, Mugu, Humla, Bajura, Achham and Darchula.
Similarly, rescue operations have been carried out in 29 districts. Dhawa Samduk Gurung, vice-chairman of Foksundo village of Dolpa, said that the program was very effective in places where there were no road facilities due to communication like ours. He said that many pregnant women could have died without this program, adding that it should be made more effective. “In a district like ours, where economic conditions are weak, not everyone has access to communication. One has to walk a day to make a phone call. Based on the information from the people’s representatives, the midwives have been rescued so far, so we have tried to include all the citizens equally.”
What are the problems with rescue?
Helicopter rescue is a complex task in itself. Lack of information about helicopter landing, geography and weather has caused problems in every flight. Chief Fighter Shrestha said that there are many complications in air travel when it takes more time than the stipulated time. He said that there was no space for helicopters to land in most of the places. Another problem is the sudden change in the weather. He said that there were many instances of people being harassed for not getting the correct information. The risk of high altitude due to fuel problems in helicopters is increased when flying for a long time.