Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Nepal earthquake mission - Part 3

We boarded the C130 early that morning, by 5am we were all set to leave Kalkota. We saw 2 other Charlies, but both were Singapores. No movement from them meaning their departure would be much later from us. 
Despite the reassurance about our landing rights , we had doubts and I will only be thankful when we reach Kathmandu airport safely. We were then delayed 1 hours circling around Kathmandu airport before we had the clearance to land. The suspicion of being directed back to where we came from was possible. Luckily today, it was only about 2 hours plus we were in C130. The 6 + hours flight from KL to Kalkota was an expereince to remember!!
The scene at the Kathmandu airport was as real as it gets. I remembered how in Kelantan it looked like really we are in the movies, this time around.. lagi Waah.. as international air forces from all around the world were flocking the airport. The US army, Israeli, Indian.. a number of big countries sending their SAR team to help the Nepali government. It was a scene "textbook" from the movies. I felt overwhelmed. All our stuff was then unloaded. Mercy Malaysia's stuff pun banyak gile. Wow.. this are our assets. Thanks to the SMART boys, we were able to have it done in a jiff. 
 Dr Heng divided us into 3. Dr Heng and Yati to report at the coordination centre, Pak Hapis to be with our stuff together with the SMART team and myself, the reinforcement from on the ground crew; looking for Aliff and his volunteers from KE7B just outside the airport. The atmosphere was havoc, as many foreign rescue teams with their uniform and stuffs in the airport. We reported ourselves at the UN counter and was told to go to few different places on coordination. We did not really have a plan and honestly, Dr Heng himself was unsure where will we be spending the night. And we were set.. to somehow just find a way. The big plan was to meet up sometime later.. where? nobody knows.. haha
 I managed to find my brother and Aliff. I was then introduced to Boiy and Harith who would be our invaluable help in the near future. It was chaotic, the scene outside the airport. People were stranded - looking for a flight to get back home. I could see tents being set up all around the compound. I guess it was because of the aftershocks, nobody felt safe being in a building.
Aliff and I had an adventure of a lifetime that afternoon. We were made to run around Kathmandu because of some miscommunication. The one positive thing aboutit was, wearing the Mercy Malaysia vest we were treated well. Its all because of Mercy Malaysia's reputation in the relief NGO circle. There were few intenaces when bigshot foreigners came to us to introduce themselves praising Mercy Malaysia and of course, Dr Jemilah.
We were made to enter the UN compound headquarters; looking for our team members when they were not even there! Haha I actually made the UN OHCA coordinator (cant remember her name) doubting her own knowledge about the compound as i was confident that my team members were there. It was really funny thinking about it now. The positive side about that incident that day was I amde the whole UN aware of MERCY MALAYSIA's presence! Hahahaha 
Pak Hapis thought he was in UN OHCA when in fact it was not. I even asked the UN OHCA Health coordinator about the whereabouts of my team and of course, he had absolutely no idea who i was talking about! hahahaha
We then regrouped at the designated SAR teams home base near the airport. This was where our SMART team were with our stuff! We met up with Dr Heng and Yati here, and were told to be deployed a village about 20km away from Kathmandu downtown. It was getting dark, and together with 6 Nepali soldiers we then went off to our designated area. It was dark and gloomy, i felt cold due to the rain. Subhanallah, the adventure begins.. 

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