Dutch rescue team to aid Nepal earthquake response

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Dutch rescue specialists will leave Eindhoven Air Base Sunday night on a military jet packed with supplies destined for Nepal, where an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale ravaged the region on Saturday. “The Netherlands will send a team of experts to Nepal to help in the search for victims of the earthquake that struck the country,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. Four million euros in humanitarian aid is also committed to the relief effort. Over 2000 people are confirmed dead, the ministry said, with the earthquake also causing fatalities in Bangladesh, China and India. The quake’s epicenter was just 77 kilometers away from the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu. Dutch NGO OxfamNovib is assisting with drinking water and food in Nepal, and they are asking those in the Netherlands . “We want to help get as many people as possible out from under the rubble as quickly as possible,” Foreign Trade and Development Minister Lilianne Ploumen said. “Our aid workers have a great deal of experience, and are immediately available.” A unit of 62 people and eight dogs from the Dutch Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) was mobilized for the mission. Search and rescue workers, doctors, nurses, engineers and sniffer dog teams will leave for Nepal on a Ministry of Defense KDC-10 aircraft at 8 p.m. Sunday. The team was placed on a standby alert on Saturday, the USAR said, and confirmed the deployment Sunday afternoon. The plane is scheduled to land in Nepal at 8 a.m. local time on Monday. Nepal is four hours ahead of the Netherlands. Blankets, bandages and water is among the five tons of relief supplies the USAR will handoff to Doctors Without Borders. The USAR team is capable of operating independently, and will not rely on local sources of food or shelter, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs added. The Dutch Relief Alliance will manage the cabinet’s financial commitment. The organization coordinates twelve different Netherlands aid agencies to respond faster to humanitarian disasters, the ministry added. The Alliance was formally launched the day before the earthquake. Both the United Nations and the Nepalese government requested assistance in Nepal.

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