NEPAL EARTHQUAKE – REPORTING AND INVESTIGATION OF GURKHA COMPASSIONATE CASES IN NEPAL

Background

There is a well-rehearsed contingency plan in place within JSP 751 for the casualty and compassionate reporting process for serving personnel, both permanently stationed in Nepal and visiting the country.  It also includes the reporting and investigation of compassionate cases, particularly those affecting the families of Gurkha servicemen in Nepal.

Nepal Earthquake Action Plan

There are a number of phases which have been implemented immediately following the earthquake in Nepal on 25 Apr 15.  In terms of the casualty and compassionate reporting aspects of this plan, the first phase is the reporting of Casualties amongst serving personnel, both permanently stationed in Nepal and visiting the country.  This is now complete, with nothing significant to report.

The next phase, which is ongoing, is the reporting and investigation of compassionate cases, particularly those affecting the Nepal-based Next of Kin of Gurkha soldiers currently serving with the British Army.  There are three likely scenarios here, based on how the matter is reported, this could be either:

1.   For families settled outside the Kathmandu Valley, notification made via the nearest Area Welfare Officer (AWO) in one of the Districts in Nepal.  The AWOs will subsequently report such cases to HQ British Gurkhas Nepal (HQ BGN) in Kathmandu.

2.   For families settled in the Kathmandu Valley, notification made directly to the Brigade & Unit Welfare Officer (BUWO) based in HQ BGN in Kathmandu.

3.   For serving soldiers outside Nepal, notification made directly by a family member.  In such cases the individual should contact their parent unit (or HQ BG) who will, if required, initiate Compassionate Travel procedures through the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC), Innsworth in conjunction with HQ BGN.

HQ BGN is responsible for dealing with matters in Nepal, and will ensure that any news reported through its network is passed to the JCCC for notification to the individuals via their unit.  JCCC is responsible for notification of such news to Nepalese soldiers currently serving in the British Army, and for authorising any subsequent compassionate travel to Nepal when conditions allow.

This process is well-established and the earthquake has not affected communications between HQ BGN and JCCC.  However, communications elsewhere within Nepal are currently not as reliable, which may explain why soldiers have not heard from some family members since the event.  To date, the number of reports has been relatively light and, consequently, does not require any additional resource for either HQ BGN or JCCC.

Point of Contact

Personnel with concerns that they have not heard from family members in Nepal are advised to contact their chain of command (or HQ Brigade of Gurkhas) who will liaise with the welfare chain in HQ BGN. Although HQ Brigade of Gurkhas does not have a formal role in this process under normal conditions, it will provide an additional layer of support and advice to Gurkha units.

The Point of Contact in these cases is the Deputy Chief of staff HQ Brigade of Gurkhas (Maj Bijayant Sherchan, UK Landline 01276 41 2757, UK Military 94261 2757 or UK Mobile 07990 860762).