Nepal asks foreign rescue teams to leave; quake toll 7,365

Nepal asks foreign rescue teams to leave; quake toll 7,365

Nepal asks foreign rescue teams to leave; quake toll 7,365

Rescue teams from India and 33 other countries were today asked by Nepal to leave as it prepared to launch massive operations to rehabilitate millions of uprooted victims of the devastating temblor that has killed at least 7,365 people, including 41 Indians.

The decision that also applies to India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), which has the largest presence in Nepal, comes in the wake of criticism by Nepalese on social media over "glorification" of New Delhi's aid efforts by the Indian media.

Nepal's Foreign Ministry said the government has asked countries to remove their 'first response' teams as the focus now shifts to relief rather than rescue.

"As such, Nepal has asked all rescue teams from 34 nations to withdraw. They now need rubble removal equipment and have asked India for help, an army engineering team will be going," the ministry said.

Teams from Japan, Turkey, Ukraine, UK and Netherlands have already begun the process of leaving Nepal.

NDRF chief O P Singh said the reason behind the Nepalese government asking foreign rescue teams to leave is that the search operations have come to an end and there was very little chance of finding survivors from the debris.

"Keeping that in mind, we will be withdrawing from Nepal and we will be making our de-mobilisation plan, and we will be sending our troops back," he said.

Around 4,500 foreign rescue workers descended on the Himalayan nation following its worst disaster in over 80 years.

The widespread destruction has affected around 8 million of Nepal's 28 million population and the rescuers' departure would test the country's capabilities of handling the crisis through the remaining relief work and rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the 7.9-magnitude April 25 temblor rose to 7,365 while the number of injured has reached 14,355.

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