Five Taiwanese still unaccounted for in wake of Nepal quake
The number of Taiwanese nationals known to have been in Nepal when a magnitude-7.8 earthquake devastated large areas of the Himalayan kingdom last weekend had increased to 284 as of 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, 279 of whom were confirmed as being safe, according to the latest update provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The information was obtained by the ministry’s outposts at the request of the travelers’ family members and travel agencies or through their travel registrations, said ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao ( ), noting that there are still five people with whom the ministry has yet to make contact.
Some of the Taiwanese travelers confirmed safe have already returned to Taiwan, while others have left Nepal, she added.
“The ministry is still trying to reach those who remain unaccounted for through various channels,” Kao said, noting that local lines of communication have been disrupted in the wake of the quake.
The earthquake, the worst to strike Nepal since 1934, occurred approximately 80 kilometers to the northeast of the country’s capital of Kathmandu April 25, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
It destroyed buildings in Kathmandu and severely affected rural areas across the region. The death toll has surpassed 5,000 and more than 10,000 have been injured, according to foreign media.
Many countries around the world have launched massive aid operations to help the survivors.
So far, three teams from Taiwan have arrived in Nepal to assist with the rescue effort and deliver relief supplies, including a team organized by the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, which arrived in Nepal’s capital on Tuesday, Kao said.
Another rescue and medical team comprised of 37 people from the International Headquarters Search and Rescue (SAR), Taiwan, a non-government, volunteer-based search and rescue organization, and two charities — the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China and the Buddha’s Light International Association — also arrived in Kathmandu early Wednesday to help with relief ef- forts, Kao said.
On Wednesday afternoon, a group consisting of six members of the Taiwan International Health Action program and officials from the ministries of health and welfare and foreign affairs also arrived in Nepal to assess the situation and provide relief assistance, she added.
Meanwhile, the ministry has set up a special area on its website to provide information on Taiwan’s relief assistance to Nepal and official accounts through which the public can make donations to help Nepal.