Nepal earthquake: Murray McCully says Unaccounted New Zealanders down to single digits

April 28, 2015 12:10 am
The number of New Zealanders unaccounted for in is down to single figures, Foreign Minister says.
“As
you can expect, there’s a lot of uncertainty and difficulty with
communication so we’ll keep working at it. We don’t have reasons to have
serious concerns for any individual.
“Some were clearly trekking
and involved in pursuits that took them away from centres and away from
telephones. There are some that we know weren’t expecting to make
contact with back home for some days yet.”
Mr McCully said he had no information to suggest any New Zealanders were higher than Everest Base Camp.

Photographer Carsten Lillelund Pedersen was able to take this image from
Mount Everest base camp of the avalanche after an hit Nepal.

He said the Government was working with Kiwis stuck in the
country following Saturday’s devastating earthquake.”Quite frankly they
[Nepalese authorities] are maxed out in terms of their capacity to get
flights in and out at the moment,” Mr McCully said.
A 37-strong search and rescue team that was due to leave for earthquake-devastated Nepal last night has been stood down.
The
New Zealand government had approved the deployment of an Urban Search
and Rescue team (USAR) to Kathmandu and they were expected to fly out
last night.
Mr McCully said prior to the team’s departure the
Nepalese Government informed New Zealand that they had enough USAR
capability currently in Nepal.
“With the benefit of reflection
they decided that they couldn’t absorb more capacity right then. In
fact, one of the big complications yesterday was the airport, it’s
hugely congested.
“We are aware of four flights from India carrying supplies that were turned around simply because they couldn’t get down.”
The
USAR team could be sent in future if requested, and New Zealand was
looking at other options such as medical teams, talking to countries
including Australia and obviously Nepal, Mr McCully said.
NGOs
working on the ground had benefited from $1 million in immediate aid
from New Zealand, and that amount could increase in the coming weeks and
months.

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