By Debbie Gregory.
When disaster strikes, the United States is usually one of the first nations to step up and offer assistance.
More than 3,600 people have been confirmed dead, with thousands more injured in a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked Nepal on April 25th. The death toll is expected to rise, as many remote villages were completely destroyed.
According to the Pentagon, a U.S. military plane has departed from the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, bound for Nepal. Amongst the personnel onboard are a U.S. disaster assistance response team, as well as a Virginia-based search and rescue team. Additionally the plane is carrying 45 tons of cargo.
Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement of condolences Saturday and announced that the U.S. would be joining in the effort to help Nepal recover.
“To the people in Nepal and the region affected by this tragedy we send our heartfelt sympathies. The United States stands with you during this difficult time,” Kerry’s statement reads.
Kerry also announced that the U.S. government is sending an additional $9 million to aid in the relief effort, bringing the total funds sent thus far to $10 million.
Prior to the disaster, more than two dozen Defense Department personnel and a transport plane were in Nepal on a training exercise. All personnel are accounted for.
The earthquake also caused deadly avalanches on Mount Everest, killing at least 17, with more than 200 climbers needing rescue. One avalanche claimed the life of Google executive Dan Fredinburg. Fredinburg was climbing Mr. Everest to raise money for OrphanGift in support of two Nepali orphanages.
The 7.8 magnitude temblor was the country’s worst in 80 years, and was felt as far away as Pakistan, Tibet and Bangladesh. The quake, which struck before noon local time about 50 miles northwest of Katmandu, happened in an area that the U.S. Geological Survey calls one of the most seismically hazardous regions on Earth. Multiple aftershocks, including one registered at magnitude-6.7, followed.
UNICEF has reported dwindling water supplies, power shortages and communications breakdowns in the stricken areas.
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Military Connection: Disaster Relief Sent to Nepal: By Debbie Gregory