Quake teams ‘saving many lives’

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Published: Wednesday 6th May 2015 by The News Editor

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Britain has provided emergency shelter to more than 65,000 displaced people in disaster-hit Nepal, the Government said.

And it is sending nearly 20,000 more shelters in the coming weeks as aid agencies face the massive task of delivering food and emergency supplies to the millions displaced by the devastating earthquake.

The International Development Secretary Justine Greening said the majority of these shelter kits had been placed in Nepal before the earthquake hit in preparation for a disaster of this magnitude.

It is 11 days after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal, triggering avalanches and mudslides and reducing whole villages to rubble.

The death toll has hit 7,500 and is continuing to climb. At least one Briton died in the tragedy while others remain unaccounted for.

The United Nations estimates that eight million people have been affected by the earthquake while 2.8 million people have been displaced by it.

Rescue workers are picking through the rubble in the search for people caught up in the earthquake, but the Nepalese Government has announced the search and rescue effort is over.

Instead the focus has moved to agencies who are 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 millions without shelter as the rains approach.

Ms Greening said: “Our pre-positioned shelter kits meant that within 24 hours of the earthquake British aid was reaching communities who had been hit hard and providing temporary homes to thousands of people across Nepal.

“Ahead of the monsoon season, we are delivering thousands more to help the Nepalese people cope as they recover from this tragic disaster.

“I would like to thank our incredible search and rescue workers and medics whose tireless efforts are saving many lives.

“We should feel immensely proud of these brave men and women and the role they are playing in Britain’s humanitarian response to the earthquake in Nepal.”

Flights carrying 9,500 shelter kits, each with two tarpaulins, will be flown in from a warehouse in Dubai while another 10,000 kits will be delivered by truck from India, the Department for International Development (DFID) said.

The UK’s 60-strong international search and rescue team is now returning home.

Among those who are still missing is British backpacker Matt Carapiet, 23, an architecture student from Bearsted, Kent, who was trekking through Langtang Valley when the earthquake struck.

He was last known to be near Langtang village, a popular trekking destination which was totally engulfed by a devastating avalanche and landslide when the earthquake hit.

According to reports, the village was home to 435 people and 55 hotels and guest houses, but now just one house remains.

Family friend Rob Bailey said Mr Carapiet’s family is continuing to endure an agonising wait to hear what happened to him.

He said: “We are waiting for the phone to ring and dreading the phone ringing simultaneously. It is a horrible feeling.

“We are hoping Matt wasn’t in the village at that time. The family are holding in but it has not been easy.

“The only option we have got now is to be patient. The work the teams out there are doing isn’t easy.”

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “Our teams are working round the clock to assist British nationals in Nepal. So far, we have given practical assistance to more than 350 and arranged flights out of Nepal for around 150.”

He added: “The Government is providing funding for additional UN helicopters to assist the response and will continue to provide assistance to British nationals, working closely with the Nepalese authorities, as required.

“We are also working with disaster victim identification experts and the Nepalese authorities to identify whether any British nationals are among the dead.”

Published: Wednesday 6th May 2015 by The News Editor

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