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Nepal Amateur Radio Earthquake Relief Response Again Suspended

05/18/2015

Amateur Radio emergency operations on 20 meters, resumed in the aftermath of the second Nepal earthquake, now have been suspended, according to Jayu Bhide, VU2JAU, the Amateur Radio Society of India National Coordinator for Disaster Communication. Bhide said he discussed the situation on May 17 with Satish Kharel, 9N1AA, and that the decision was based on the fact that all systems in the affected region “are working normally.” VU2JAU, 9N1AA and others have been among those active on 14.210 MHz since the initial earthquake on April 25.

Amateur Radio relief activity in Nepal had begun winding down before a magnitude 7.3 earthquake shook parts of the Himalayan nation on May 12, collapsing buildings and killing dozens in a region that’s still trying to recover from the much stronger earthquake on April 25. The latest quake revived the ham radio effort. Centered some 50 miles east-northeast of the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu and near the border with Tibet, the temblor was felt in India and Bangladesh. The US Geological Survey considers the May 12 tremor as an aftershock of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on April 25.

The Army Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) has been continuing to gather information and statistics on the earthquake tragedy in Nepal. Sanjeeb Panday, 9N1SP, has been passing traffic to Tim McFadden, T6TM/ KB2RLB, a MARS operator in Afghanistan.

Among other information, Panjay told McFadden that 8250 people died as a result of the earthquakes and nearly 480,000 residences were destroyed. Another 263,000 were damaged.

“Once Tim receives Nepal disaster traffic he has been preparing SPIREP and COMSPOT reports as needed and then relaying them through MARS networks to HQ, Army MARS and me,” Daniel Wolff, KA7AGN, the MARS EUCOM/CENTCOM/AFRICOM Regional Director. “He also has been posting the information to the Nepal disaster APAN [All Partners Access Network] website. Twice now, he has self-activated upon learning of disaster events in Nepal.” Wolff said APAN is “a collection of communities developed to foster information and knowledge sharing between the U.S. Department of Defense and non-DoD entities who do not have access to traditional DoD networks.”

The May 18 information summary indicates that things are starting to return to normal in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. Residents are reported to be moving back into the city, and more stores and restaurants are reopening. “Access to remote areas remains a critical issue, with landslides and rains expected to aggravate the condition of roads,” the report added.

Ironically, the scenario for last year’s MARS “Pacific Endeavour-14” regional disaster response was a major earthquake in Nepal.

Wolff said McFadden and Panday have been in regular contact through the earthquake disaster. “They exchange traffic related to the disaster recovery effort almost daily,” he told ARRL. “That information is channeled up through MARS networks, through HQ, Army MARS and to various customers as appropriate.”

 



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