Britain sends Gurkha soldiers for Nepal quake aid

27th April 2015, Comments 0 comments

A military transport plane laden with supplies and dozens of Nepalese Gurkha soldiers is to take off from a British air base on Monday headed for their homeland.

The Boeing C-17 transport plane will carry more than 1,100 shelter kits, including plastic sheeting and rope, and 1,700 solar lanterns, the Department for International Development said in a statement.

A British defence ministry spokesman told AFP there would be "dozens" of Gurkha engineers on board to assist relief efforts after a devastating earthquake that killed more than 3,800 people.

The Gurkhas are soldiers from Nepal who serve in the British army and around 2,700 are currently enlisted.

They are renowned for their ferocity, loyalty and razor-sharp kukri fighting knives. They first served as part of the army in British-run India in 1815.

Gurkha veterans have been involved in a long campaign to demand better pension arrangements. It is only since 2007 that they have had the same pay and conditions as British soldiers.

An aid plane from Britain carrying medics and rescue experts landed in Nepal earlier on Monday.

"A swift and effective UK response to the Nepal earthquake means help is already reaching all those affected by this terrible disaster," International Development Secretary Justine Greening said.

"But as the devastating scale of the crisis becomes clearer, we are stepping up our efforts," she said.

© 2015 AFP

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