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US Expanding Aid Efforts in Nepal

US soldiers unload Huey helicopters from a US Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III after the same landed in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, May 3, 2015.

US soldiers unload Huey helicopters from a US Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III after the same landed in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, May 3, 2015.

United States military helicopters began flying to remote areas of Nepal Monday to look at damage from the recent earthquake.

U.S. military aircraft, heavy equipment and air traffic controllers arrived in the capital, Kathmandu, on Sunday. They will be used to help transport aid to earthquake victims. They are working to reach the areas that have received little help since the 7.8-magnitude quake struck on April 25th.

The U.S. job will include helping to supervise all the relief supplies that are coming into Nepal’s only international airport in Kathmandu. The country has had trouble getting food and other supplies to the people who need it.

The U.S. Ambassador to Nepal, Peter Bodde, told the French news agency AFP that the U.S. forces will have “multiple aims.” In his words, they will be delivering “relief supplies, they might do some rescues, and they will do assessments.”

The U.S. forces will “make an immediate difference,” added U.S. Brigadier General Paul Kennedy. The U.S. military is bringing supplies, especially shelter, which the general called “the most pressing need.” He said bringing those things to people affected by the earthquake is “going to make an immediate impact on their lives.”

The United Nations also said it is looking for more ways to get supplies to people in the remote areas. A spokeswoman for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Orla Fagan, said aid workers “are still having problems getting things to people.”

Critics of the Nepalese government say it continues to suffer from a broken political system after a long civil war. Kunda Dixit is the editor and publisher of the “Nepali Times” newspaper.

Extortion, blockages of roads and corruption, was the order of the day for the last, at least, eight years after the conflict and during the conflict.”

The United Nations said more than eight million people have been affected by the earthquake. It also said at least two million have been displaced. The international community has said it will give more than $60 million. But the U.N. said an additional $350 million is needed because several million people are in need of emergency food aid. Some estimates say a total of $5 billion is needed to rebuild Nepal.

Newspaper publisher Kunda Dixit says there will be corruption.

“There’s going to be graft. This is an extremely corrupt country. The corruption was really becoming an epidemic here, even before this crisis.”

More than 7,200 people are known to have died in the devastating earthquake. On Sunday, four more people were rescued from the rubble. Police reported that a 101-year-old man was found about 80 kilometers northwest of the capital. Earlier reports said three other people were pulled out alive from debris northwest of the city.

I’m Anne Ball.

Anne Ball wrote this story with material from VOA’s Steve Herman, Reuters and AFP. George Grow was the editor.


Words in This Story

remote – adj. distant or far away from other people or cities

magnitude – n. a number that shows the power of an earthquake

rubble - n. wreckage

devastating - adj. causing great damage

debris - n. pieces left after something is destroyed

corruption - n. dishonest or illegal behavior

extortion n. using force or threats to get money from someone

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