Charleston AFB on standby for possible Nepal support

Volunteers work to remove debris at the historic Dharahara tower, a city landmark, after an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, on April 25. A strong magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal’s capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon that day, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said.

Charleston Air Force Base’s contribution to the humanitarian aid mission for earthquake-stricken Nepal has been minimal so far.

No planes or crews are currently tasked to the effort, but multiple teams are “postured” at the ready in case their support is needed, a base spokesman said.

For security reasons, he did not elaborate about crew numbers.

The initial response to the 7.8-magnitude quake from Joint Base Charleston came Monday, two days after it hit. That mission included shuttling 57 rescue personnel, response dogs and equipment from March Air Reserve Base in California on a C-17 cargo jet to Germany. Another crew was to fly to the quake area.

The rescue team carried concrete-cutting equipment, chain saws, search cameras, sonar to locate victims and communications equipment and generators, officials reported.

The quake struck central Nepal on April 25, causing widespread damage. The loss of life is estimated at more than 6,000 people.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.