Britain deploys medical experts, dogs to quake-hit Nepal

2015-04-26 22:06:55 GMT2015-04-27 06:06:55(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

LONDON, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Britain on Sunday deployed search and rescue crews, dogs and medical experts to support the relief effort in Nepal, where a powerful earthquake has killed over 2,000 people and injured about 5,000 others.

Britain has deployed a team of more than 60 search and rescue responders and medical experts as part of a cross-government capacity surge to support the relief effort in Nepal, British International Development Secretary Justine Greening said on Sunday.

A chartered flight was due to leave London on Sunday evening for Nepalese capital Kathmandu, carrying seven international search and rescue crews, four search and rescue dogs, a medical support team and a hazardous materials specialist.

The personnel will bring with them more than 11 tonnes of kit, including torches, axes, rope, search cameras, stretchers and tents, Britain's Department for International Development (DFID) announced.

Trauma medics and experts from leading aid agencies, including the British Red Cross, will also join the international aid effort in Kathmandu. "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," Greening said.

Britain has offered a 5 million pound (about 7.6 million U.S. dollars) package of support in response to the earthquake in Nepal, according to the DFID.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond also confirmed consular support to British nationals in the south Asian country.

"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," Hammond said.

"British Embassy staff are on the ground and have provided practical help to around 200 British nationals. Teams of consular staff have also been out scouring hospitals, hotels and areas popular with tourists looking for British nationals who may need assistance," he added.

But the foreign secretary noted that "it may be some time" before embassy staff are able to identify who is in Nepal and to account for them, due to damage of communications infrastructure caused by the earthquakes.

A total of 2,152 people have been killed and about 5,000 others injured in a powerful earthquake that struck Nepal at midday Saturday, the country's national police spokesman Kamal Singh Bam said on Sunday.

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