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British dual national killed

A British dual national has been killed in the devastating earthquake in Nepal, the Foreign Secretary has said, as more than 100 British nationals left stranded by the disaster are being flown back to the UK.

Philip Hammond confirmed the death of the British victim, who was a resident of Hong Kong.

Officials are also investigating reports that another Briton has been killed at Mount Everest base camp.

A UK aid flight carrying 120 British nationals has now left the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, Mr Hammond said. The flight is expected to land at Stansted Airport in the early hours of the morning.

Meanwhile, Britain is preparing to send RAF Chinook helicopters to Nepal to help with the relief effort.

Mr Hammond said: " Foreign Office staff continue to work around the clock tracing British nationals and getting them to safety in the wake of this catastrophe.

"More than 300 who had no accommodation have been hosted by our embassy in Kathmandu and we have arranged for around 120 to be repatriated on a flight chartered by the UK Government to deliver relief supplies."

Mr Hammond said hundreds of Britons had now been accounted for but the situation remained "extremely challenging" because of widespread infrastructure damage caused by the earthquake, landslides and avalanches.

Search and rescue teams, medics and armed services from the UK are on the ground helping those in need, he added.

"Hundreds of Britons have now been accounted for and our teams are working closely with the Nepalese army and authorities to locate British nationals in remote areas and get them to safety," Mr Hammond said.

"We know that this is an agonising time for those who are waiting for news of loved ones.

"But the scale of the disaster and the limited communications means that it may be some time before we can account for everyone. Many are likely to be in a place of safety but not able to communicate easily.

"Sadly I can confirm the death of one British dual national, a resident of Hong Kong."

More than 5,000 people have been killed since the 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck on Saturday. Nepal's prime minister Sushil Koirala said the death toll could eventually rise to more than 10,000.

Eight million people have been affected by the disaster which has wiped out entire villages, according to the United Nations.

A medical student from Leicester university, American Dr Marisa Eve Girawong, was among those killed in avalanches on Everest.

About 30 British and Irish families are reportedly still waiting for news of their loved ones who may have been in Nepal at the time of the earthquake.

Nina Ross said her sister Susannah, 20, from Bath,was among a group of trekkers in the Langtang valley in the north of the country and she is not expected to be rescued until tomorrow at the earliest.

She received a satellite message at about 5am saying the group is still awaiting rescue and she called for pressure to be put on authorities to act.

"We're really hoping to get through to different embassies to hurry it up because there's still falling rocks in that area that are killing people," Ms Ross, 25, said.

Ms Ross said she has not spoken to her sister directly, and added: "We really need pressure on the embassies, on any kind of charities, on anyone, to get helicopters out there."

She said people from other countries were lifted out yesterday as their embassies had paid for helicopters.

"So the British embassy haven't paid for helicopters to get Susannah out and that means that she's been left there with some people," she added.

British personnel have arrived in Nepal to help with the overall rescue operation as medical services are at "breaking point".

A team of more than 60 UK international search and rescue responders and specialist rescue dogs have arrived, with some already operating on the ground and travelling out of the capital to more remote areas, the Department for International Development (DfID) said.

The personnel are drawn from 15 fire and rescue services from across the UK, and their capabilities include locating deeply-buried victims, constructing timber supports to safely shore up buildings and providing advanced life support.

They were joined by an eight-strong group of expert trauma medics, and more UK medical crews are expected to arrive in the country in the coming days.

Some £19 million has been donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Nepal Earthquake Appeal a day after it was launched.

The total is made up of £14 million given by the UK public by text, phone and online, and £5 million from the UK Government through Aid Match.

The British public have been urged to do what they can to help in the wake of the quake, with a televised appeal reminding people of the sacrifices made by Nepalese Gurkha soldiers as part of the British Army in decades past.

Two hundred gurkhas will march in London tomorrow to honour those who have sacrificed their lives for Britain over the last 200 years.


From Belfast Telegraph