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Huge logistics response to Nepal disaster

KATHMANDU: The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has appealed for US$415 million to help survivors of Nepal 's worst earthquake in 80 years.

The disaster has so far claimed the lives of over 6,200 people, injured nearly than 14,000, affected eight million and made homeless over 2.8 million. Some 3.5 million need food. The country's government says US$2 billion will be required for reconstruction based on initial estimates of the damage.

The international response has been so massive that Kathmandu airport is becoming congested according to the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP).

SAR dog UKIndia has already flown in search and rescue teams (SAR), a field hospital and a UAV, while 40 trucks and 90 buses have delivered food, medical supplies and drinking water. Part of the UK contribution includes 18 Gurkha military engineers to operate water purification equipment while the German Red Cross has delivered 60 tons of aid included two water treatment units and a mobile laboratory.

Following five 747 freighter flights of aid from Dubai, on April 30 the UAE Red Crescent dispatched a truck convoy carrying a further 1,200 tons from India to Nepal as Israel, Pakistan and Qatar airlifted mobile hospitals to Kathmandu.

Several countries including China, Sweden and the UK have flown in SAR dog teams (right). Other countries contributing SAR experts include Belgium, the Netherlands, Turkey and Russia.

The UPS Foundation says it has committed US$500,000 in cash and kind to aid recovery efforts and provide support to the WFP logistics cluster that also includes Agility, Maersk and TNT.

The WFP says Kathmandu airport is already showing signs of possible delays due to the processing of cargo imports and aircraft slot limitations. As a result, a maximum total landing weight of 190 tonnes (aircraft and cargo included) has been imposed.

All of Nepal's domestic airports have limited operations says the WFP with landing permission at Pokhara, Biratnagar and Nepalgunj restricted to a C17 freighter and its equivalent. The agency adds that while access to Kathmandu valley areas by truck is possible, the status of many roads remains unclear and "air assets may be required to support access to rural areas".

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