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US announces fresh aid of USD 9 million for Nepal

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Washington:  The US has announced fresh aid of USD 9 million for quake-hit Nepal as it launched relief and rescue mission in the Himalayan nation, sending a disaster response team alongwith rescue dogs to search for survivors.

“We are working very closely with the government of Nepal to provide assistance and support. I am announcing that the US will provide an additional USD 9 million for Nepal earthquake response,” the Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in New York.

This is in addition to the USD 1 million already provided to the quake victims in Nepal on Saturday.

The funding will be used to address immediate, life-saving priorities, including search-and-rescue efforts, the provision of emergency shelter, clean water, sanitation, and additional needs that emerge in the coming days, USAID said.

“This emergency assistance builds on our years of support for risk reduction partnerships in Nepal,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, Director of USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance.

The US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said two C-17s of the US Air Force were dispatched to Nepal with USAID support, search-and-rescue personnel and supplies on board.

“We expect them to arrive shortly, and we expect to be doing more as and when called upon. We have tremendous humanitarian capability and experience as the response during Operation Tomodachi in Japan after the earthquake there shows and we put that to work in Nepal,” Carter said.

The White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “We express our deepest condolences to all those who were affected by Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal.

“The US is determined to stand by the people of Nepal and those affected in India and Bangladesh as they work to recover from this tremendous humanitarian disaster.”

Earnest said some US military personnel are already in Nepal for a previously scheduled training exercise and these individuals are using their equipment and their tremendous expertise to assist in the recovery effort.

The US is sending a nearly 130-person disaster assistance response team to conduct assessments, coordinate the humanitarian response, and provide search and rescue capabilities, along with 45 tons of cargo.

Advance elements of that team are already on the ground, and the team consists of a 57-person urban search-and-rescue team from Fairfax, Virginia and six rescue dogs.

“Among those killed, we are aware of four US citizens who died in the Everest region,” said State Department spokesperson Jeff Rathke.

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