Helicopters to help in quake relief

Published: Saturday 2nd May 2015 by The News Editor

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Two further British military helicopters are to be sent to Nepal this weekend as the humanitarian mission in the quake-ravaged Himalayan country enters a second week.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in the worst earthquake to hit the country in 80 years, and at least 14,000 have been injured.

One Briton – dual national Hemchandra Rai, 42, a married father of three who lived in Hong Kong – has been confirmed dead, while many more families are continuing their agonising wait to hear if their loved ones survived the natural disaster, which triggered avalanches that swept away Everest Base Camp.

Reports that a second Briton was among those killed at Base Camp are still being investigated, and many more are still believed to be unaccounted for.

According to a Red Cross missing persons list posted online, 28 people from Britain and Ireland remain unaccounted for following last Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

But the figure is only an estimate as the website is updated by users and not all families are known to have filled in details, or updated them.

An RAF Chinook helicopter left the Brize Norton airbase around midday yesterday, while t wo more will be sent out over the weekend where they will help ferry people and supplies so that humanitarian aid can be taken to those in desperate need in remote and isolated communities.

The three Chinooks, from 27 Squadron based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire, are the latest in the aid effort dispatched from the UK.

British Army Gurkha engineers arrived in the Himalayan country yesterday on board a C-17 aircraft, along with 18 tonnes of aid supplies that included shelter kits and solar lanterns.

The Gurkhas spent last night constructing a water purification system to provide safe drinking water for people living in a camp in Kathmandu who lost their homes in last week’s earthquake.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “These highly versatile Royal Air Force helicopters and UN aircraft will mean life-saving aid supplies can be moved around Nepal and reach people in remote communities cut off by the earthquake who are in desperate need.

“Conditions in Nepal are dire, but the UK is determined to do everything it can to help support Nepal and its people.”

The British Government has announced a package of measures to help with the rescue effort, including £15 million in aid, and so far the British public has donated more than £30 million to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).

Food, water, relief supplies and shelter kits are beginning to reach isolated villages affected by last Saturday’s earthquake, the DEC said.

More than 100 Britons, the youngest aged just four months and the eldest in their 60s, returned home to the UK to emotional scenes in the early hours of Thursday.

Published: Saturday 2nd May 2015 by The News Editor

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