Libertatem Magazine

Helping Neighbor Out

Contents of this Page

VasudhaivaKutumbakum’… this shloka of Mahopanishad came to real life when Nepal was hit with the  earthquake named ‘Gorkha’ on 25th April, 2015. When a  devastating earthquake, measured at 7.8 on the Richter scale, hit Nepal on 11:56 NST on 25th April, 2015 causing severe tremor and horror in the cities of Nepal, India was the first country to help Nepal out of the misery in such times and proactively response to the mishap. The earthquake caused the death of 7000 people and twice is injured.

Being a responsible neighbor, India was first to start the relief work, which started with the operation ‘Maitri’. ‘Maitri’ signifies the bond of friendship between India and Nepal, is the language of love, which these two countries have shared since time immemorial. Within the first six hours after the deadly earthquake, ten teams from India’s National Disaster Response Force, having 450 personnel arrived in Nepal, with search and rescue dogs. Further, 10 additional Indian Air Force Plan team joined the rescue mission with 43 tons of relief material and further aid. Many army forward hospitals have been set up in Nepal along with 3 field hospitals. 41 Medical personnel with equipment and 2 mobile teams of doctors, nurses and paramedics have been sent out to help the injured patients and provide medical aid to them. 18 Indian Army engineering task forces have been sent out till date to clear the roads and debris. There are tons of food, water, blankets and tents sent out as soon as the disaster hit Nepal.

Therefore, India dispatched a further 10 tons of blankets, 50 tons of water, 22 tons of food items and 2 tons of medicines to Kathmandu to overcome the ‘Gorkha’ devastation.  Thousands of NGO started raising fund for the disaster and sending money to the people in Nepal. Prime Minister NarendraModi promised help to Nepal in such a difficult time and addressed people to help the victims through donations and the counterpart, Nepal Government duly acknowledged India’s efforts.

India, has always been involved in helping its neighborsin times of need and history shows that the best example of the same could be witnessed during Bangladesh Freedom movement, when thousands of migrants from Bangladesh got aid and relief in India, during the war times. Similarly, India has always had a special bond with Nepal and these two countries have plenty in common, starting with religion, race and people. Because of this bond, the Indo-Nepal Border is the safest border in the world.

The nature is showing its fury against the mankind in term of natural calamities, thus Disaster management organizations and the United Nation have promulgated guidelines and model laws so that the member states may adopt them and enact relevant legislations for their respective jurisdictions. In 2007, the state parties to the Geneva Convention (India is a party since 1950 but is not a party to the Geneva Protocol) and International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement adopted the International Disaster Response Laws, Rules and Principles (also known as IDRL). The General Assembly adopted three resolution which encourages the state parties to make use of these guidelines.

These guidelines are still at a growing stage and a very few countries have incorporated it in their domestic legislations. The core idea of these guidelines are the domestic country plays a vital role, other countries have responsibilities and legal facilities during the time of peril should be minimum. The foremost principle suggest that the country itself should have mechanisms in place to tackle such hazard. For instance, India has promulgated Disaster Management Act, 2005. India has also established National Disaster Response Force as per the statutory requirements of the said Act. The members of these forces are trained and kept on stand by to tackle any natural calamities. Their noteworthy contributions and rescue operations during the Kosi floods, cyclone in Orissa, floods in Mumbai, Earthquake in Gujarat and many more.

Secondly, the international helpers namely the countries as well as the international organizations and NGOs play a vital role. As stated above, India and China extended their helping hand through various means to rescue the victims. The countries should have the principles of humanity, neutrality, andimpartiality as well as minimum standards of coordination and quality intheir relief goods, personnel and programmes. Thirdly, the countries should show leniency in legal facilities. These relaxations include expedite visa procedure, transport facilities (as we see India had deployed buses for transport of the victims), relaxation in fees and duties on relief activities and so on. In times of Peril, the assisting governments should also encourage the people of their country to help the affected persons by way of raising funds or donations.

However, when we make efforts of doing so much good, we should not forget what the victims really want. For instance, during the floods in Haiti there was huge mountain of clothes and toys. I am not discouraging people to make donations, nonetheless, warm hearted people should understand the needs of the victims and act accordingly.

The steps taken by Indian Agencies in such a difficult time is heart whelming and clearly shows that no borders of the Countries can stop the human being to help out its fellow human being. On every day we read out the stories of Border conflict or military warfare and hoping for peace loses its hope. Operation like Maitre again raises the hope that no boarder can divide the human heart and no matter how much conflict of interest we may have we stand still and together when God Test our heart.

Nobody can control the Natural Calamities or stop it from occurring or tell the exact time when it will occur, but coping with them is in the hands of the people. The people are interdependent on each other from the time immemorial. In times like this interdependence and helping hand, help them to stand and again start over their lives. The efforts of people all over the world to help people in Nepal clearly shows mankind will never die in the hearts of the man. As Neil Armstrong have said that such steps visualizes that “A small step of Man, a giant leap for Mankind”.

About the Author