89 S'poreans and PRs fly out on RSAF planes
EIGHTY-NINE Singaporeans and permanent residents left Kathmandu for Singapore on two C-130 planes yesterday afternoon.
There were 74 passengers on the first plane, which left at 3pm Nepal time (5.15pm Singapore time) and was flying straight to Singapore. The second plane carried 15 passengers, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement.
The ministry's Crisis Response Team is also working with Silkair to secure seats for Singaporeans wishing to return home.
Said Danial Phua, leader of the MFA team in Kathmandu: "The airport was very congested, and flights were delayed on Monday due to inclement weather and heavy air traffic. We organised the Singaporeans, helped them with their travel documents and updated them on departure details regularly. Our Singaporeans were very calm and patient, and kept their spirits up under trying conditions."
The ministry is still attempting to contact all Singaporeans in Nepal.
All three Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) C-130 planes landed in Kathmandu yesterday.
Plans to evacuate Singaporeans from quake-hit Nepal were delayed when the three planes could not land at Kathmandu airport on Monday because of congestion.
RSAF said on Facebook at 4pm yesterday that equipment and supplies were being unloaded at the airport.
Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen posted on Facebook yesterday that about 80 men and women from the Singapore Civil Defence Force, Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Armed Forces, had arrived in Kathmandu with equipment and aid to join other relief workers in assisting Nepal.
The Singapore contingent has been assigned to the village of Sankhu, about 50km from Kathmandu, by the local authorities.
The village has been flattened by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake which hit on Saturday.
Yesterday, the contingent was assessing the ground situation and setting up a temporary operations centre.
The death toll from Nepal's devastating earthquake could reach 10,000, the country's Prime Minister said yesterday.
International aid finally began arriving in the Himalayan nation of 28 million people, days after the quake, but disbursement has been slow.
According to the home (interior) ministry, the confirmed death toll stands at 4,349, with more than 7,000 injured.
The United Nations said eight million people were affected by the quake and that 1.4 million people were in need of food.
THE STRAITS TIMES, REUTERS