On 25 April 2015, Nepal was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which caused massive damage and killed thousands. In response to this Rapid Deployment Teams (RDT) were sent to the area.
The RDT teams help British Nationals caught up in crises overseas. As part of the RDT deployment one of our Secure Technical Services Officers (STSOs) posted to Islamabad was deployed immediately to provide technical assistance to the RDT team. Our STSO was responsible for providing technical assistance to the embassy and was later joined by one of our Technical Support Officers (TSOs) from Bangkok.
The main building was out of bounds due to damage from the earthquake. Our STSO then checked the condition of the building and made sure that ICT and secure video
conferencing systems were available to the embassy in Kathmandu, so that they could remain in contact with London and the rest of the overseas network. This was essential as there were eight hourly teleconferences with the Foreign Secretary, FCO departments and COBR (the British government’s emergency response committee). Local radio communications had failed.
This was one of the essential communications systems for post allowing contact with the airport. Coverage was restored following a visit to the Radisson Hotel where the repeater was located. IT terminals were also set up in the overpopulated crisis centre with the help of the locally engaged IT support officer. Within the first 24 hours after the earthquake, FCO Services structural engineers then arrived to commence essential seismic strengthening assessment work, contributing directly to the business recovery programme at the embassy.