This Article is From Apr 27, 2015

Nepal Earthquake: 'PM Narendra Modi Knew and Responded Before Me,' Rajnath Singh Tells Parliament

Indians evacuated by IAF from Nepal

New Delhi: India responded immediately after a massive earthquake hit Nepal on Saturday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in Parliament today, commenting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi "knew of the incident before me and took swift action."

"Just five minutes before the earthquake, I was with the PM. When I came home, called me and said he had called a meeting on a very major disaster. I have no problem in admitting that the alertness that I should have shown as home minister was shown by the PM," Mr Singh said in a statement in the Lok Sabha on the disaster that has left over 3,700 dead.

The government has decided to grant visas on priority to foreigners who want to come to India be evacuated from Nepal, said the home minister.

He said PM Modi spoke with about a dozen state chief ministers immediately after the earthquake. "We decided that states bordering Nepal should send buses to evacuate Indians," Mr Singh said.

"People in both Nepal and India who have been affected will be helped by our government." he added.

The house was also told that National Disaster Response Force teams had been sent to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where 63 people have died after buildings collapsed because of the earthquake.

The Indian Air Force has evacuated over 1,900 citizens from Nepal in about a dozen sorties. More sorties have been planned for today; aftershock and poor weather had hampered some flights.

A team of Indian officials from various ministries has gone to Nepal to coordinate relief and rescue operations.