New Delhi: Prime minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said Nepal’s “pain is our pain” as the death toll in Saturday’s massive earthquake crossed 800. He directed immediate dispatch of relief and rescue teams.
“Nepal’s pain is our pain. Today’s earthquake has made us all very sad. Reports are still coming on the extent of the damage,” Modi tweeted soon after chairing a high-level meeting to review the situation following the massive earthquake whose epicentre was in Nepal.
The earthquake killed over 800 people in Nepal and 34 in India.
In the meeting, which was attended by union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh as well as National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Modi directed that proper arrangements be made for rendering assistance in evacuation of stranded tourists.
Immediately after the earthquake measuring a staggering 7.9 on the Richter scale, with its epicentre at Nepal’s Lamjung district, Modi spoke to Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, who was abroad.
Modi assured all assistance in dealing with the aftermath of the quake.
The prime minister also spoke to the chief ministers of the affected Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim and Madhya Pradesh.
“The prime minister was briefed on the inputs regarding the extent of damage to life and property received so far from various places in India and Nepal,” a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.
The statement said that the prime minister “directed immediate dispatch of relief and rescue teams, including medical teams to Nepal, as well as to affected areas in India”.
“He also directed that proper arrangements be made for rendering assistance in evacuation of stranded tourists.”
Modi also instructed union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy to assess the situation in the states bordering Nepal, especially Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Rudy later tweeted: “PM has put disaster management teams on standby, PM is monitoring the situation: RP Rudy (incharge of #earthquake damage assessment).”
Bihar was the worst affected with 23 people dying due to the quake. In Uttar Pradesh, eight people died, while in West Bengal, the death toll was three.
The PMO has also spoken to the Indian embassy in Bhutan. The embassy is in touch with top Bhutan officials as well, the statement added.
The prime minister was informed that the first unit of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team was expected to reach Kathmandu later on Saturday.
Also present at the meeting were Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra, Additional Principal Secretary P.K. Mishra, and senior officials from the India Metrological Department and National Disaster Response Force.
The Crisis Management Committee too met.