The Nepal death toll continues to climb as bodies are found in the rubble left by the terrible magnitude-7.8 earthquake. The United States military is sending in troops to help with the recovery efforts, and already the military has delivered three Huey and 10 Osprey helicopters in addition to a team that should grow to as many as 400 service members.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, a 101-year-old man rescued from the rubble was trapped for seven days after Nepal’s earthquake.
Although many countries have been coming to the rescue, it has been reported that Israel’s aid team to Nepal has the largest in manpower of any international aid mission. The United States might be spending the most amount of money, but Marine Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy admits, “We want to stay as small as possible here.”
The month-long operation is expected to cost at least $10 million, but U.S. Ambassador to Nepal Peter W. Bodde says there are no political strings attached and the goal is to keep Nepal’s death toll as low as possible.
“Why are we doing it?” asked Bodde, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Because they’ve always been a good friend. We’ve had development programs here for 60 years. We’re the United States of America, and it’s the right thing to do.”
According to the Associated Press, Nepal’s death toll has already surpassed over 7,000 people and is expected to grow even higher in number.
“The death toll climbed to 7,276, including six foreigners and 45 Nepalese found over the weekend on a popular trekking route, said government administrator Gautam Rimal. Nepal’s Tourist Police reported that a total of 57 foreigners have been killed in the April 25 quake, and 109 are still missing, including 12 Russians and nine Americans.”
The reason Nepal’s death toll will continue to rise is because the hardest hit areas are located within mountains. Even though U.S. military helicopters will help with reaching these remote areas, the Huey helicopters do not fly well over a certain altitude. Regardless, the helicopter rescue efforts are already proving their worth.
“As we speak, we have a helicopter up in an area where we heard there might be missing Americans, in the Langtang area,” the ambassador said.
Unfortunately, the rescue efforts have also been bottlenecked by the physical limitations of Nepal’s airports. There is only one airport capable of handling large incoming jets, and there have been cracks on the runway.
“You’ve got one runway, and you’ve got limited handling facilities, and you’ve got the ongoing commercial flights,” said Jamie McGoldrick, the U.N. coordinator for Nepal. “You put on top of that massive relief items coming in, the search and rescue teams that have clogged up this airport. And I think once they put better systems in place, I think that will get better. The government has taken note of some of the concerns that we’ve expressed to them.”
[Image via NBC News]