UK rallies to aid Nepal quake victims

photo: DEC

Ambassadors and VIPs, from Prince William to Joanna Lumley, joined Gurkhas and members of the Nepalese diaspora to offer their condolences at the Nepalese Embassy following the devastating earthquake that has claimed 7500 lives to date.

A campaign by the Disasters Emergency Committee, fronted by actress and Gurkha champion Joanna Lumley (right) raised £33 million in just four days. This is in addition to a £23 million humanitarian response package from the UK Government.

UK aid arrives in Kathmandu – photo: FCO

The Department for International Development deployed a team of humanitarian experts to assist the Nepalese authorities, while the Foreign Office scrambled two consular teams to aid stranded nationals in Nepal.

To accommodate them the Residence garden of the British Ambassador was converted into a makeshift campsite.

“At one point we were looking after 158 people,” including citizens of Ireland and Commonwealth nations, British Ambassador John Rankin told the Daily Telegraph.

Councils in areas with a large Nepalese and Gurkha diaspora, notably Greenwich Council in Southeast London, were quick to establish collection points for aid donations. These were then transferred to the Embassy of Nepal which has been working around the clock arranging transport of aid to Nepal.

The Embassy has set up a Help Desk to coordinate the collection of relief materials and facilitate medical volunteers. Embassy staff said relief materials most urgently needed were all-weather tents, blankets, sanitation kits, mattresses, water purifiers, food and utensils.

An Earthquake Relief Fund bank account has also been set up to take cash deposits or transfers. These will then be transferred to the Prime Minister Disaster Relief Fund (see information box below for details).

Embassy of Nepal, London Earthquake Relief Fund, Natwest Bank, Notting Hill Gate, Sort Code 60-15-33, Account Number 05537339