struck India as a powerful earthquake devastated the
western state of Gujarat on January 26, 2001. Sources
within the Indian government estimated that thousands
died and nearly 200,000 were injured. Ruins of homes
and buildings litter the streets caused the displacement
of nearly half a million Gujaratis. The aftermath of
the magnitude-7.7 quake continued as fears of disease
increase. In response to the crisis, the United States
government immediately dispatched emergency humanitarian
assistance to India.
the US Forest Service and the US Agency for International
Development (USAID) were instrumental in coordinating
a massive disaster response effort. USAID's Office of
Foreign Disaster Assistance and Bureau of Humanitarian
Response sent a Disaster Assistance Response Team to
India immediately after the earthquake shattered the
sub-continent. Emergency relief commodities were subsequently
airlifted into New Delhi. Water purification units,
water distribution kits, and five-gallon water containers,
blankets, plastic sheeting, generators, light stands,
and electrical cords as well as tents and water tanks
were among the necessary supplies.
USFS International Programs' Disaster Assistance Support
Program (DASP) lent crucial support to OFDA's humanitarian
response. DASP's Disaster Operations Specialist, Ron
Libby, coordinated the logistics of relief supplies
in India. In Washington, DASP's Disaster Response Specialist,
Gary Barrett, worked as the night shift Communications
and Records Coordinator for the India Earthquake Response
Management Team (RMT). He was responsible for tracking
all incoming and outgoing communications. As RMT's Logistics
Coordinator, Gina Papke, US Forest Service "Hot
Shot" Fire Crew Superintendent, was in charge of
procurement, transport, and supervision of relief supplies
to this disaster.
Forest Service personnel were vital in lending logistic
support to the response efforts. Just a few weeks after
the El Salvador earthquake response, Bill Laspina, from
the National Interagency Fire Center in Idaho, embarked
on this ongoing mission alongside Mike Malone from the
Clackamas River Ranger District in Oregon.
The US Forest Service assistance to this emergency humanitarian
effort was fully funded by the US Agency for International
Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.
additional information about the relief effort in India, please refer to the OFDA
web site and the Natural Disasters section of ReliefWeb.