A team of 57 Los Angeles County firefighters will be deployed to Nepal to aid in search and rescue efforts after a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Nepal.
The highly trained crew was slated to depart around midnight Sunday from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County shortly after Gov. Jerry Brown approved the dispatch of Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 2, according to L.A. County fire Capt. Roland Sprewell.
Authorities said that the death toll in Nepal has exceeded 2,430, which includes more than 1,000 people killed in the densely populated Katmandu Valley and 17 who died in an avalanche that swept into a base camp for climbers attempting to hike Mt. Everest.
The massive earthquake flattened buildings, toppled sacred temples and damaged the country's infrastructure. It was the worst shaker Nepal has experienced in 80 years. Rescue workers continue mining the rubble for survivors.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Nepalese people and we are eager to get our world-class first responders on the ground to help those that are still being impacted by this terrible event," said Mark Ghilarducci, director of California's Office of Emergency Services.
The task force is expected to arrive in Katmandu on Monday, Sprewell said, where they will assist local emergency operations in and around the hardest hit areas of the country.
Members of this team have been deployed for duty during Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes, the 2014 Washington State mudslide and many other major world disasters.