On April 25, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, killing more than 7,000 people and injuring many more. In Kathmandu, the country’s capital of 700,000 people, local engineers have said that more than three quarters of the buildings need repairs before they can be considered safe; one fifth are uninhabitable. As if that wasn’t turmoil enough, the surge of planes transporting tents, water, food, and medical aid to Kathmandu destroyed the airport’s main runway. Aid workers and government officials called for helicopters in order to to reach rural villages in Nepal inaccessible by vehicle.
One of the aid organizations that leapt to respond was Team Rubicon, which provides work groups of ex-military volunteers after disasters of any kind. A TR reconnaisance team landed in Kathmandu the day after the quake and used drones to survey the scene and assess the most crucial physical priorities. Partnering with HaloDrop and Palantir Technologies, the Rubiconers overlaid their aerial shots of the disaster zone on maps that were used to direct their medical team that followed, as well as other aid groups. Team Rubicon sent more than 30 medics, linguists, and other first responders. For more information on how Team Rubicon and other new-wave veterans groups are keeping their members in public service, see "Just What the Doctor Ordered."