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Lumley 'so proud' of UK response

Joanna Lumley has said she is "so proud" of the UK's response to the Nepal earthquake, after donations soared following a public campaign to raise funds for the disaster area.

The actress and Gurkha campaigner has fronted a Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) fundraising appeal for Nepal which has passed £33 million in just a few days.

Ms Lumley told Good Morning Britain: "It's quite incredible. On the very first day the appeal was sent out, back came £19 million - nearly £20 million.

"I am so proud of our country."

The Absolutely Fabulous star, whose father was a Gurkha officer, said aid should be used to help Nepalese children get their lives back on track.

She said: "It is sort of like a war zone.

"The trauma of these little ones - they are now living in the land of the dead, all around them are dead bodies.

"Things they could remember as landmarks, people, shops - everything has gone. Their whole little lives have been disrupted. Unless we can make a calm and a safe place for them to get back into education and start their young Nepali lives to take their country on - it's a massive thing."

She said the quake and its aftermath was "like a catastrophic war visited by aliens upon an undeserving people".

The UK Government's humanitarian response package for the Nepal earthquake now stands at £22.8 million, following a £5.3 million contribution to the United Nations' emergency appeal.

The new money will be split between agencies helping supply food, clean water and shelter to the millions of people affected by Nepal's worst earthquake in 80 years - the World Food Programme, Unicef, the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC).

The announcement came as the Himalayan country was forced to close its only international airport to large jets because they are causing damage to its runway as they bring in aid, following last Saturday's 7.8 magnitude quake.

The UN has appealed for £274 million for its "flash appeal" to help those affected by the quake, which killed more than 7,000 people and injured thousands more.

It was revealed on Saturday that eight Britons stranded in a monastery had been rescued, a week after the devastating earthquake struck.

A team of humanitarian experts chartered a helicopter to get to the group, who were marooned at a remote mountainside religious retreat in Bihi, near Lho.

The team of emergency staff from the Department for International Development (Dfid) flew the group to Kathmandu where on Friday they boarded planes to start their journey back to the UK.

It came as an RAF C-17 which had taken aid to Nepal rescued another seven Britons from the country - bringing the number of people from the UK who were safely evacuated yesterday to 15.

A former Gurkha yesterday told the BBC that four people from the UK's Nepali community were killed in the disaster.

Kashi Rai from Swindon in Wiltshire said at least three of the four victims were Nepali citizens from the town who had indefinite leave to live in the UK.

His brother and his sister-in-law were among those who had died, he said.

Reports of another British victim killed at Mount Everest base camp are still being investigated.


From Belfast Telegraph