No contact with 23 Dutch people in Nepal

Seated Nepali soldiers in Durbar Square (Photo: Hanna Daych)Seated Nepali soldiers in Durbar Square (Photo: Hanna Daych)

Of the 750 Dutch citizens who were known to be in Nepal at the time of last month’s devastating earthquake, nearly two dozen are still missing, according to the Dutch government. Meanwhile, a Netherlands fundraising effort to assist the relief operation topped 8.5 million euros.

Nepalese authorities officially ended all rescue efforts, turning the mission into a recovery and salvage operation.

“There are now 23 compatriots who we have not been able to reach or locate,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders. “We are getting a clearer picture of who still needs help,” he said, thanking those who have tried to get the government in contact with Dutch people in Nepal, and the Netherlands response team on location there.

“An aircraft from the Dutch Ministry of Defence (KDC10) will arrive Monday in Kathmandu to pick up the Netherlands Urban Search and Rescue team,” the USAR announced. The crew of 62 rescue workers and eight sniffer dogs will debrief in Cyprus before returning to Eindhoven Air Base.

“I have great respect for the efforts of these people, working in their daily lives in the Netherlands as nurses, doctors, sniffer dog handlers and civil engineers. They have worked with heart and soul to help the people of Nepal,” Koenders said. The team will bring with them several Dutch citizens stuck in Nepal.

The Netherlands kicked off a national fundraising effort on Friday to help finance the recovery in Nepal. “The fundraiser has now brought in more than 8.6 million euro,” Koenders said. “The Giro555 action lasts at least another full five days, so there is plenty of time to give.”

As of Saturday, roughly 6,250 people are confirmed dead from the April 25 incident. Another 14,400 people were injured in the 7.9 magnitude quake.