The U.S. government is sending troops and aid to Nepal as the nation struggles to recover from a massive earthquake that killed thousands.
As the days go by and death tolls tick up, the need is only expected to grow. As of Monday, officials say 4,000 were killed in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck near the capital of Kathmandu on Saturday. The Nepalese government has declared a state of emergency and the international community has joined in the response effort.
A spokesperson for the Nepalese army told the Associated Press that 90 percent of its 100,000 troops are involved in search-and-rescue efforts and assisting the more than 7,000 people injured in the quakes. “We don’t have the helicopters that we need or the expertise to rescue the people trapped,” said Lila Mani Poudyal, the Nepalese government’s Chief Secretary, who noted a demand for “tents, dry goods, blankets, mattresses and 80 different medicines.”
Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement of condolences Saturday and announced that the U.S. would be joining in the effort to help Nepal recover.
“To the people in Nepal and the region affected by this tragedy we send our heartfelt sympathies. The United States stands with you during this difficult time,” Kerry’s statement reads.
About 70 American personnel and 45 square tons of supplies are expected to reach Nepal on Monday, according to the Department of Defense. The bulk of those traveling to the country are members of the U.S. Agency for International Development Disaster Assistance Response Team including humanitarians and rescue workers from Fairfax County.
Secretary of State John Kerry also announced Monday the U.S. government is sending an additional $9 million to aid in the relief effort, bringing the total funds sent thus far to $10 million.
“The images that everybody has seen are gut-wrenching. Extraordinary devastation, young children carried away in ambulances, whole villages reduced to rubble,” Kerry said Monday during a joint-press conference with his Japanese counterparts. “We are working very closely with the government of Nepal to provide assistance and support.”