RAF to deliver Nepal quake supplies

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Published: Monday 27th April 2015 by The News Editor

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The RAF is expected to deliver much-needed supplies and reinforcements to Nepal today as the rescue and relief effort continues.

Medics and experts from the UK flew out last night after the country was devastated by an earthquake which claimed more than 2,000 lives.

The Foreign Office said it had not received reports of any Britons being killed or injured but that embassy staff had assisted 200 people.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: “There are several hundred British nationals in Nepal at this time of year and we expect that almost certainly some will have been caught up in the earthquakes. But at this moment we have no reports of any British nationals killed or injured.”

Mr Hammond added that damage to communications infrastructure was making it difficult to contact some people who may be in remote locations, meaning it could be some time before all the Britons in the region could be identified and accounted for.

He continued: “The Foreign Office is urgently deploying additional consular response teams from London and Delhi to reinforce our embassy staff and looking at what else we can do.”

The Department for International Development (DFID) also announced £5 million of humanitarian aid for Nepal.

It deployed a team of more than 60 search and rescue responders and medical experts as part of a cross-government surge to support the relief effort.

A DFID-chartered flight was due to leave the UK for Kathmandu last night, carrying seven international search and rescue crews, four search and rescue dogs, a medical support team and a hazardous materials specialist.

They took with them more than 11 tonnes of kit, including torches, axes, rope, search cameras, stretchers and tents.

Rescue efforts in the country are expected to be reinforced as volunteers and experts start arriving to help deal with the destruction.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “Our thoughts are with all those affected by this terrible earthquake. The UK is doing everything it can to help Nepal recover and provide assistance to British nationals caught up in the disaster.

“We are deploying highly trained experts in search and rescue and trauma medicine to pull people from the rubble and save lives. These are brave men and women who will be doing crucial, life-saving work on behalf of the UK.”

The 7.8-magnitude quake struck just before midday on Friday, sending tremors through the Kathmandu Valley and the nearby city of Pokhara.

The majority of deaths were reported in Nepal, with deaths also being confirmed in India, Tibet, Bangladesh and the Nepal-China border.

The quake also set in motion an avalanche which swept the face of Mount Everest, killing at least 17 people and injuring 61, government officials said.

Several Britons are thought to be stranded on the world’s highest peak, with access to its base camp cut off.

Those in the Nepalese capital described the impact of the quake.

Nicholas Roxburgh, a 26-year-old PhD student from Ormskirk, Lancashire, was in Kathmandu – near the epicentre of the earthquake – when disaster struck.

He has lived in Nepal for nine months, exploring the rural water system management, and was due to return to the UK on Tuesday.

Nicholas, whose brother Alasdair Roxburgh is campaigns manager at Christian Aid, said he had been sitting at his desk when the building began to sway.

He described running into the bathroom and finding an exit as soon as possible, before making his way to the street

“Just a few doors down from the building where I had been staying, a hospital stood – relatively undamaged, its staff out on the street fearing collapse. Within minutes injured people began to arrive, in cars, taxis, on foot, being carried by others.

“It was immediately clear there had been casualties. The lifeless bodies of two young children were carried in, while countless others arrived with a variety of horrific injuries – many having been hurt by falling masonry, others having been pulled from collapsed buildings,” said Mr Roxburgh.

Anyone who is caught up in the incident or worried about a family member should call the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on +44 (0) 207 008 0000.

Published: Monday 27th April 2015 by The News Editor

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