Members of a Fairfax County rescue group headed to Nepal over the weekend to take part in disaster-recovery efforts after Saturday’s earthquake, which has already claimed more than 4,300 lives.
The Fire and Rescue Department said its team, Virginia Task Force 1, departed from Chantilly and headed to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. From there, the group left for Kathmandu, according to Twitter messages from the department.
The group’s plane was expected to land in Nepal on Monday evening. The task force that was dispatched to Nepal includes about 50 paramedics, structural engineers, medical personnel and dog handlers, along with search and rescue experts, fire officials said.
The task force is expected to stay in Nepal for as long as 14 days, according to Dan Schmidt, a Fire and Rescue spokesman.
In a Facebook post, Fairfax Fire Chief Richie R. Bowers Jr. said team members were “in good spirits and anxious to get in-country and get to work” as they prepared to depart.
The Task Force group, which has about 200 members, deploys under the auspices of the U.S. Agency for International Development. The Fairfax task force is one of two in the United States that are certified to respond to world disasters. The other team is based in Los Angeles and is also being deployed to Nepal.
The Fairfax County task force has rendered assistance in disasters around the world, including the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. Other places where it has aided disaster-relief efforts include Haiti, Kenya, Turkey and Oklahoma City, as well as the Pentagon after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.