Switzerland has sent a team of experts to Nepal to assess the damage and current needs and see what Switzerland can do to help the earthquake-stricken country. Over 3,700 people are dead after a 7.8 Magnitude quake hit on Saturday.
A spokesperson for the Swiss foreign ministry told swissinfo.ch that the team of six flew out to Nepal Sunday morning with the air rescue service, Rega. More information is expected later in the day or overnight.
On Saturday Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter offered Swiss help to the authorities in Nepal.
It is the worst earthquake in Nepal in around 80 years. Strong aftershocks were felt on Saturday and Sunday.
The foreign ministry said 124 Swiss citizens are registered in Nepal at the moment. How many Swiss tourists are in the country is not known. The ministry is not aware of any Swiss victims at present.
The embassy in Kathmandu is in contact with local authorities and is working on obtaining further information. Communications in the country are currently difficult due to the damage to buildings and infrastructure.
On Mount Everest, at least 18 people have died in avalanches caused by the quake. Kobler and Partner, a Swiss expeditions travel agency, said in a statement posted on its website on Saturday that they had only one group in Nepal, which was on a Makalu expedition, 19km southeast of Everest. Everyone in the group is safe.
The Swiss travel agency, Globetrotter, said on Sunday they have 64 clients in Nepal and had managed to reach 45 of them, none of whom had been hurt. The remaining are on trekking expeditions and are much harder to contact.
Swiss SolidarityExternal link, the humanitarian arm of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG SSR – swissinfo.ch’s parent company) has set up an emergency fund to help rescue operations in Nepal and is appealing for donations.
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