36 Taiwanese in Nepal still missing; 131 safe
Of the 167 Taiwan nationals in Nepal when a magnitude-7.8 earthquake shook the Himalayan kingdom Saturday, 131 are confirmed to be safe, according to the latest update provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Sunday.
The ministry said the 131 Taiwanese travelers, including all 69 thought to be in Nepal as part of tour groups, have reported they were safe, but there were still 36 who had yet to be tracked down.
Taiwan’s Representative to India Tien Chung-kwang and Yao Eng-chi, chairman of the World League for Freedom and Democracy ROC Chapter, are among the travelers confirmed to be safe.
Yao was visiting Kathmandu at the head of a 13-member delegation including Tien when the devastating quake struck.
MOFA spokeswoman Ann Kao ( ) said efforts are being made to arrange flights for the travelers to return home as soon as possible. One tour group with 12 people had already returned to Taiwan early Sunday afternoon.
Taiwan’s representative office in India and Tien are assisting Taiwanese travelers to find ways home and are also continuing to try to make contact with the people who remain unaccounted for, Kao said.
It was not immediately clear if Tien is planning to stay on in Nepal to help coordinate traveler services and relief initiatives.
The epicenter of the earthquake — the strongest to hit Nepal since 1934 — was situated 77 kilometers northwest of the capital city of Kathmandu.
As of early Sunday afternoon, the Nepal government had confirmed that at least 1,958 people were killed in the natural disaster and at least 5,000 were injured.
Taiwan has sent its condolences to the victims through Tien and pledged to donate NT$9.2 million in rescue and relief assistance, according to the ministry.
Kao also said the ministry has raised its travel warning for Nepal to the highest “red light” alert, under which travelers are advised to not visit the landlocked country.
For Taiwanese citizens in Nepal who need help, Kao said they should call the ministry’s representative office in India via the emergency number +919810502610 or to the ministry in Taiwan at +886800085095.