More UK Gurkhas join Nepal mission

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Published: Saturday 9th May 2015 by The News Editor

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Nearly 100 more British Army Gurkhas have arrived in disaster-hit Nepal to help with the relief effort, the Government said today.

It brings the total number of British military personnel sent to the region in the two weeks since the devastating earthquake to around 300.

The Gurkhas, who arrived in two groups yesterday and today, will focus on providing support to the villages of serving and veteran Gurkhas and their families, the Ministry of Defence said.

Around 7,800 people died and millions were displaced when the 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal, triggering avalanches and mudslides and reducing whole villages to rubble.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said today: “This further deployment of British Army Gurkhas to Nepal will provide welfare assistance for Gurkha families, soldiers and veterans who have been affected by last month’s earthquake.

“The British Army Gurkhas deploying have a unique set of local knowledge, language skills and engineering experience, making them a vital element of the international response.

“We recognise that this terrible disaster will have directly affected our own Gurkha community and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.”

The 92 Gurkhas from 36 Engineer Regiment, based in Maidstone, Kent, are making their way into the more remote hills of Nepal, where they will construct permanent shelters and repair infrastructure.

They are expected to stay for around three months.

The Department for International Development has already flown out 54 tonnes of humanitarian aid supplies, including more than 1,100 shelter kits and some 1,700 solar lanterns, while the RAF has been transporting supplies and equipment from India to Kathmandu.

The focus is now on desperately trying to get shelter, clean water and food to those left homeless by the disaster.

And with the monsoon season fast approaching, experts say the task of getting supplies to stricken regions is more urgent.

The government of Nepal estimates that 500,000 homes were destroyed in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, leaving 2.8 million people without shelter as the rains approach.

At least one Briton died in the tragedy while others remain unaccounted for.

Published: Saturday 9th May 2015 by The News Editor

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