Waiting in the wings
Group Captain R Sharma of the Indian Air Force’s 44 Sqn is leading a relief mission to the United States, carrying 25 tones of relief supplies to those affected by Hurricane Katrina. The supplies comprise 50,000 first aid kits, small tarps, blankets 25,000 cots and pillows and 500,000 packed rations. The IAF’s IL-76 (Gajraj) aircraft is scheduled to arrive in the United States on 9 September, routing via Doha, Cairo, Lisbon and Boston.
The US authorities have yet to confirm the final destination of the aircraft.
As of now, no personnel in the form of doctors or paramedics are being sent but this is not being ruled out. It may be noted that India and US had agreed to cooperate with each in disaster management issues during Prime Minister Manmohan Singhâ€™s visit.
New Delhi has also offered to send water purification units, Army medical units, doctors experienced in treatment of water-borne diseases. But discussions are on with the US to ensure that aid is sent in line with the requirements on ground. [IE]