Nepal shuts airport to big jets

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Published: Monday 4th May 2015 by The News Editor

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Runway damage forced Nepalese authorities to close the main airport to large aircraft delivering aid to millions of people following the massive earthquake.

The death toll climbed to 7,276, including six foreigners and 45 Nepalese found over the weekend on a popular trekking route, said government administrator Gautam Rimal.

Nepal’s Tourist Police reported that a total of 57 foreigners have been killed in the April 25 quake, and 109 are still missing, including 12 Russians and nine Americans.

The airport’s main runway was temporarily closed to big planes because of damage.

It was built to handle medium-size jetliners, but not the large military and cargo planes that have been flying in aid supplies, food, medicines, and rescue and humanitarian workers, said Birendra Shrestha, the manager of Tribhuwan International Airport, located on the outskirts of Kathmandu.

There have been reports of cracks on the runway and other problems at the only airport capable of handling jetliners.

“You’ve got one runway, and you’ve got limited handling facilities, and you’ve got the ongoing commercial flights,” said Jamie McGoldrick, the UN co-ordinator for Nepal.

“You put on top of that massive relief items coming in, the search and rescue teams that have clogged up this airport. And I think once they put better systems in place, I think that will get better.”

Published: Monday 4th May 2015 by The News Editor

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