SAF evacuates Singaporeans from Nepal

SAF evacuates Singaporeans from Nepal
Passengers boarding an RSAF C-130 aircraft in Kathmandu.

SINGAPORE - A total of 89 Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents were evacuated from Nepal on Tuesday, following a deadly 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck the region on Saturday.

Three Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) C-130 aircraft arrived in Nepal at 4pm. Two departed this evening for Singapore, said the Ministry of Defence (Mindef)

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said it is working with SilkAir airlines to secure seats for Singaporeans who wish to return home.

Singapore has despatched a multi-agency team to assist in relief operations in the Himalayan nation.

The relief contingent consists of 22 personnel from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) medical team, six personnel from Changi Regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Coordination Centre (RHCC), as well as personnel from the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the Singapore Police Force.

The SAF medical team will provide medical aid to victims of the earthquake, while the Changi RHCC team will be assisting Nepalese national disaster management authorities and military with their efforts to coordinate the relief efforts.

According to the Crisis Response Team's leader, Mr Danial Phua, the Kathmandu Airport was very congested and flights were delayed on Monday.

"We organised the Singaporeans, helped them with their travel documents and updated them on departure details regularly.

He added that they were "very calm and patient, and kept their spirits up under trying conditions".

MFA said it will continue to contact Singaporeans in Nepal.

"While ground telecommunications pose severe challenges, MFA will keep in close touch with the Nepalese authorities and the next-of-kin of all Singaporeans in Nepal until they are accounted for," said the ministry.

klim@sph.com.sg

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