AUDIO: Sri Lanka dispatches emergency relief assistance to Nepal, creates hotline
April 25, 2015 08:34 pm
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Kathmandu has established a hotline for any inquiries regarding Sri Lankan nationals residing Nepal, in wake of the powerful earthquake that shook the country and Northern India.
Those seeking information regarding any Lankans living in Nepal are requested to contact the mission via the hotline – 009779851020057.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that 120 Sri Lankan students at the Manipal University in Pokhara and another 20 Sri Lankans in Kathmandu are unharmed.
“Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Nepal Mr. W.M. Senevirathna has ascertained the safety and welfare of the Sri Lankans in Nepal and has informed that the 120 Sri Lankan students at the Manipal University in Pokhara and around 20 Sri Lankans in Kathmandu, are safe,” a statement said.
Meanwhile the Sri Lankan government has decided to dispatch Emergency Relief Assistance to Nepal tonight, as a gesture of solidarity towards the people of the devastated South Asian nation.
“As a first step, Sri Lanka Air Force C 130 Aircraft will carry a Medical Team consisting of Doctors from the Military and the Health Ministry including surgeons, anesthetists, nurses and relief assistance contingent and equipment including tents, generators, communication, excavating and other equipment.”
“Further assistance would be considered after a needs assessment in Nepal,” the statement said.
The dispatch of an Emergency Relief Assistance follows a special coordination meeting held this afternoon at the Presidential Secretariat which was attended by the Minister of Health, Minister of Disaster Management, Secretary to the President, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Secretary Defence, Secretary Foreign Affairs, the Service Commanders and the Inspector General of Police together with Senior officials of the Ministries of Health, Disaster Management, Foreign Affairs and other key Ministries.
The Charge d’ Affaires of Nepal in Sri Lanka who was also present briefed the meeting on the evolving situation in Nepal, the Foreign Ministry said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy in Nepal will continue to monitor the situation in relation to the Sri Lankans in Nepal and any further assistance to be extended to Nepal, it said.
The Sri Lankan Government also extended its sincere condolences to the Government and people of Nepal, particularly the families of the bereaved.
The earthquake, measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, which struck Nepal on Saturday (25 April) has claimed as many as 970 lives, with more people feared dead.
Most of the deaths were reported to be from the Kathmandu Valley, according to a Nepal Home Ministry official, speaking on Nepal TV.
Initial reports from Nepal this morning placed the death toll at nearly 500.
The earthquake hit the area between Kathmandu and Pokhara, which is about 50 miles (80.5km) from the capital. Tremors were felt as far afield as Bangladesh, Pakistan and neighbouring India.
“We need support from the various international agencies which are more knowledgeable and equipped to handle the kind of emergency we face now,” said Information Minister Minendra Rijal.
The earthquake destroyed buildings, including to the iconic nine-storey Dharahara, a watch tower built in 1832. Reports say 50 to 400 people are trapped under the tower.
The earthquake happened at 11.55am local time (06.11am GMT) and USGS estimated its depth at 9.3 miles (15km).