The Telegraph’s Ben Farmer reported yesterday evening that British Army Gurkhas were boarding an RAF C-17 transporter packed with emergency shelters and solar lanterns at Brize Norton.
Army sources said the troops from the Kent-based Queen’s Gurkha Engineers will join around 65 others permanently based at the brigade’s HQ in Kathmandu.
Others are on standby to deploy at short notice. One source said: “They speak the lingo and they have everything they need, from infantry to engineers, within the brigade.”
As well as sending experienced personnel, the UK will provide a £5 million package of support, £3 million of which will be released under the Rapid Response Facility (RRF) to address immediate needs on the ground and £2 million to the British Red Cross, Press Association reported.
A Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster (Getty Images)
Justine Greening, the International Development Secretary, said it was part of the UK’s “swift” response to the disaster.
“A swift and effective UK response to the Nepal earthquake means help is already reaching all those affected by this terrible disaster. But as the devastating scale of the crisis becomes clearer, we are stepping up our efforts.”
There will also be a DEC televised appeal for public donations today with Gurkha campaigner and actress Joanna Lumley. It will be shown tonight by all major UK broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky tonight.
In a press release, Saleh Saeed, DEC chief executive, said: “The sheer scale of this emergency and the effort required to help the people of Nepal recover is only now becoming clear.”
“Survivors are in need of medical help, food, water and shelter. In many cases they’ve lost everything and our members are ready to help them not just survive but to rebuild their lives.”
Hello and good morning to the Telegraph’s live coverage of the aftermath of the tragic earthquake in Nepal which has killed 4,352 people and left more than 7,000 injured, according to the Nepalese home ministry.
The Foreign Office has told the Telegraph that the office in Nepal has assistedmore than 200 British nationals and they have deployed another team to help.
The spokesman said: “The Foreign Office has provided consular assistance to 200 British nationals but there are still no reports of deaths or injuries. Our team is scouring hotels, hospitals and popular areas [to check for British nationals].”
However the Nepalese prime minister fears the 7.8 magnitude earthquake could have killed as many as 10,000. Sushil Koirala told Reuters the earthquake and the aftermath was a challenge for the country.
“The government is doing all it can for rescue and relief on a war footing,” Mr Koirala said in an interview. “It is a challenge and a very difficult hour for Nepal.”
People stand in a queue for drinking water in Kathmandu (Barcroft Media)