Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson decided yesterday to allocate ISK 10 million (USD 74,000, EUR 68,000) to the Red Cross and Red Crescent for humanitarian aid in Nepal because of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which hit the country on Saturday morning.
The Nepalese government has declared a state of emergency in the regions which were worst hit by the quake, requesting assistance from the international community. The number of dead has reached 3,200 and at least 6,500 people are seriously injured, ruv.is reports.
Tens of thousands have lost their homes and others are afraid to be inside because of aftershocks; a 6.7 magnitude quake hit yesterday.
There is widespread shortage of clean water and food, and electricity and telecommunication are unstable. International medical professionals and search and rescue teams are underway.
More than 100 Nepalese reside in Iceland. “Our family is fine but all around them there are collapsed buildings and many dead people. It’s very difficult to watch the pictures on the news. We’re just speechless. I don’t know what to say. We are just stuck here, far away from home. The only thing we can do is pray that god will help us and help them,” commented Ash Kumar Gurung, chair of the Association of Nepalese in Iceland.
The association will meet tonight to discuss the disaster.
All mountaineers and Sherpa guides on Mount Everest have been evacuated by helicopter from Camps One and Two to Base Camp, as Icelandic climber Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir wrote on her blog.
Both she and Ingólfur Axelsson, another Icelandic climber, are safe, as are the four other Icelanders known to have been in Nepal when the earthquake hit.
“Plans are underway for the team’s further movement from Base Camp, however they will not depart the Khumbu Valley until there is a plan in place for their safety and onward departure from Kathmandu,” Vilborg explained.
“Due to the severe damage to infrastructure in Kathmandu and extreme shortage of flights and accommodation this may take several days or more,” she pointed out.
At least 18 people died when an avalanche triggered by the earthquake hit Base Camp.