Singapore Civil Defence Force and police officers who were sent to Nepal for relief efforts returned home on Saturday night (May 9).
For two weeks, the 126-member contingent had searched for survivors, helped to recover bodies and helped identify victims in various parts of Nepal, which was hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake.
There were emotional scenes as the personnel arrived at Changi Airport.
“The idea was for my wife and my mum to be here, so I was shocked to see everyone. I’m very, very happy. I miss them all,” said SCDF Staff Sergeant Md Jailani.
And for Sergeant Shahrul Pungut from SCDF, it is time to catch up after missing his mother’s birthday.
“I didn’t have international roaming, so I used the Force’s phone to call my mum and wished her happy birthday,” he said. “I will just treat her to lunch, both my parents, for her birthday.”
Singapore Police Force officer Patrick Pang greets his family after returning from relief efforts in quake-hit Nepal. (Photo: Ministry of Home Affairs)
The Home Team contingent is made up of an elite SCDF force, known as the DART unit. They are trained in various capabilities, including urban search and rescue operations. The contingent also included four SCDF handlers and their dogs, as well as members of the Singapore Police Force. The contingent is the Home Team’s largest group to be sent overseas for disaster relief efforts.
“Despite all of us coming from different units, we bonded together very quickly. We slept, ate and worked together, we took care of one another and at the end of the day, I think we are all very proud to have made a difference,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police Lian Ghim Hua.
“This particular mission shows many of us how blessed we are back in Singapore, and how simple life could be, and not to take things for granted,” added Lieutenant Colonel Alvin Tan from SCDF.
The team from the Singapore Armed Forces is expected to return from Nepal in the coming days.