16/06/2015 8:20 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

India Has Wrapped Up Operation Maitri, But Nepal Still Needs Our Help

ROBERTO SCHMIDT via Getty Images
An Indian army helicopter comes in on a final approach for landing near a Chinese military helicopter (bottom) at the international airport in Kathmandu on May 6, 2015. India, China, the United States were some of the countries which have provided aircraft and other aid to Nepal in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck the Himalayan nation on April 25, 2015, killing over 7,300 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Last week India announced the end of Operation Maitri, the earthquake relief effort initiated by the country in Nepal.

Operation Maitri was launched within hours of the devastating earthquake that rocked Nepal on April 25, 2015. More than 8,500 people were killed in the earthquake, including 16 climbers on Mount Everest when an avalanche swept across the Base Camp.

This is the largest support mission by India in response to a natural calamity abroad.

During the 40 days of operations, Indian aircraft carried more than 1,700 tonnes of relief material in 2,223 helicopter sorties. The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Army Mi-17 and ALH helicopters flew more than 50 sorties every day, out of the airports in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

"11,200 people, including 780 casualty evacuations", were moved to safety during Operation Maitri, tweeted Sitanshu Kar, Spokesperson from India's Ministry of Defence.

Besides delivering relief supplies to remote area of Nepal and evacuating people to safer ground, India set up a Rapid Action Medical Team, near Kathmandu's international airport, which treated more than 4,700 injuries, including 300 surgeries.

On Thursday, June 4, IAF's C-17 Globemaster III aircrafts carried the last contingents of Operation Maitri back to India from Nepal.

"Maitri means friendship," said Abhay Kumar, Spokesperson at the Indian Embassy in Nepal. "Indians have not only opened their wallets, but their hearts too. There has been an outpouring of support from more than a dozen States and many private civilian-led initiatives."

India's relief operations on the ground have come to an end, but Nepal continues to battle its post-earthquake challenges. Besides the almost daily aftershocks, the upcoming monsoon season is expected to start within the next two weeks. The expected rains and strong gusts of wind will threaten the tens of thousands of people living in temporary shelters, and increase the risk of landslides in mountains across Nepal.

You can support Nepal by continuing to follow the news in the upcoming weeks, contributing to NGOs with strong local partnerships, planning a vacation in Nepal after September this year, and exploring other creative ways to help the country.

This article first appeared on Amrit Sharma's personal blog.

You can follow Amrit on Twitter at @amrit_sharma

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