Wednesday 21 February 2018

Death toll could reach 10,000, warns Nepalese leader

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond
UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

Ryan Hooper

The death toll from the Nepal earthquake disaster could reach 10,000, the country's prime minister said yesterday.

Reports from the ravaged country say the death toll has passed 5,000, but prime minister Sushil Koirala said it could eventually be double that.

Meanwhile, UK authorities are investigating claims of the first British fatality.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Philp Hammond said: "I've spoken to the Nepalese prime minister this morning to assure him of our commitment to see what other assistance Nepal urgently needs.

"We have a C-17 loaded with British Army Gurkha engineers and equipment in the region. We also have a Department for International Development (DFID) chartered Boeing 767 loaded with rescue teams and supplies. They're both waiting for landing slots when the weather at Kathmandu permits. They will be in and operating as soon as possible.

"In the meantime, we have already got some UK personnel in on other flights and there are 60 British personnel, search and rescue teams and other experts already on the ground delivering assistance."

The latest news came as efforts continued to provide food, water and other aid for the eight million people in 39 districts in the Himalayan nation the UN says have been affected.

A medical student from a British university was among those killed in avalanches on Everest.

The University of Leicester confirmed that American Dr Marisa Eve Girawong had been part-way through studies on its postgraduate mountain medicine course when she died at the peak's Base Camp in ice-falls triggered by the earthquake.

Dr Girawong, known as Eve, was with the Seattle-based Madison Mountaineering team when disaster struck.

Dr Peter Barry, from the university's infection, immunity and inflammation department, said: "She was delightful to know - a beautiful, intelligent, outgoing person who effortlessly got on with everyone.

"She had plans to continue her work in the mountains and was excited about the adventures ahead of her. This is a real loss to our community."

Entire villages have been wiped out and more than 1.4 million people are in need of food and water, according to the latest reports from Nepal.

Irish Independent

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