Friday 30 September 2016

Bodies found near wreckage of missing US helicopter

Andrew Marszal

Published 15/05/2015 | 07:33

The crew of a US C-17 military transport plane unload a Huey helicopter at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu Credit: Roberto Schmidt (AFP)
The crew of a US C-17 military transport plane unload a Huey helicopter at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu Credit: Roberto Schmidt (AFP)

A rescue team has found three bodies near a crashed US Marine helicopter, Nepal's defence secretary said

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The wreckage of the missing helicopter had earlier been spotted in the mountains north east of Kathmandu.

Six Marines and two Nepalese army soldiers were on board when it went missing on Tuesday while delivering aid in the Himalayan nation following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on April 25.

Army chief of operations Major General Binoj Basnyat said the wreckage was located in the district of Dolakha.

Many areas in that region of Nepal are not reachable by air or road.

The US Marines said they were sending their own rescue team to assess the wreckage and determine if it was the missing helicopter, the UH-1 Huey.

Read More: Death toll in Nepal reaches 37 as nearly 1,000 hurt in latest quake

The news came as stores reopened and traffic was returning to Nepal's capital three days after the Himalayan nation was shaken by a second major earthquake.

But thousands of people were still sleeping in tents scattered across the city on Friday, afraid that aftershocks might topple damaged homes.

Schools and colleges remained closed after Tuesday's magnitude-7.3 quake, which killed 117 people and injured 2,800. It struck just 2 1/2 weeks after the country was battered by a magnitude-7.8 quake that killed more than 8,200 people.

Read More: Nepal earthquake: Crushing blow to a region that's already reeling from a total catastrophe

Government office buildings in Kathmandu have been badly hit, with many buildings developing cracks or collapsing altogether.

Government officials from the National Planning Commission were working from a tent erected outside its building.

Outside Kathmandu, many roads linking the capital to outlying areas were heavily damaged.

Speaking to Independent.ie, World Vision Nepal Communications manager Alina Shrestha said the focus now was shifting from rescue efforts to emergency shelters.

"Infrastructure is down all over the city and everyone is scared because the aftershocks are continuing," she said.

“Most people are living in tents or out in the open because they fear another quake will come. A lot of buildings are sitting empty now because of this."

After search and rescue, World Vision said potable water, food, household supplies, temporary shelter and protection for children were critical.

“We’re coming into monsoon season so our worry now is to get these people into shelters."

“When the rains come, anyone sleeping outside will be very susceptible to disease, especially the children."

Landslides are an ongoing menace in the country but Ms Shreatha warned that this risk would only increase when the seasonal monsoon rains begin to fall in the coming weeks.

She also said that the Nepalese Government was currently pushing through a bill to ensure that any child who lost their parents in the earthquakes would be protected.

“They want to make sure that they are safe from human traffickers," she added.

Before the earthquake, World Vision had identified Nepal as "very vulnerable" to earthquakes, and the aid agency had been implementing earthquake preparedness training for communities and workshops for schools to help reduce the risks of earthquakes.

To contribute to World Vision's emergency appeal go to www.worldvision.ie.

Telegraph.co.uk

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