Nepal Earthquake Rescue Teams En Route in Wake of Devastation

Disaster relief teams are en route to join U.S. Special Forces already in Nepal.

ByEMILY SHAPIRO
April 27, 2015, 11:05 AM

— -- Rescue crews from around the globe are headed to Nepal in the race to provide disaster relief and pull survivors still beneath the rubble in the wake of Saturday's earthquake that toppled temples, triggered a Mt. Everest avalanche and devastated the capital of Kathmandu.

This comes as officials said today the death toll had surpassed 4,000.

The U.S. government is providing an additional $9 million in assistance, Secretary of State John Kerry said today, in addition to the $1 million already provided.

U.S. disaster relief teams are en route to join U.S. Special Forces already in Nepal. A search-and-rescue team from California took off for Nepal late Sunday night, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

PHOTO: On April 26, 3015, crews in California prepared to board a plane en route to Nepal.
On April 26, 3015, crews in California prepared to board a plane en route to Nepal.
LA County Fire Department

Crews from Israel, Japan, Australia, India, China, Germany, Canada and New Zealand are also headed to the region.

Even social media is contributing to the rescue efforts. Facebook has activated its “safety check” feature, which allows users to tell friends and family they are safe. Google has also activated its own disaster tool called “person finder” and is updating satellite imagery to help with relief efforts.

PHOTO: In this photo provided by Azim Afif, a helicopter prepares to rescue people from camp 1 and 2 at Everest Base Camp, Nepal, April, 27, 2015.
In this photo provided by Azim Afif, a helicopter prepares to rescue people from camp 1 and 2 at Everest Base Camp, Nepal, April, 27, 2015.
Azim Afif via AP Photo

At Mt. Everest, where the magnitude-7.8 quake triggered an avalanche, helicopters have started to rescue about 210 climbers, according to Tulsi Gautam, Nepal's general director of tourism.

About 300 trekkers are safe and still in the Everest area, according to Gautam.

Tents, clothing and oxygen supplies are strewn across the mountain as rescuers try to reach survivors before supplies run out or another aftershock hits. The mountain is too treacherous to walk down; the only way to evacuate safely is by helicopter.

Nearly the entire 100,000-soldier Nepalese army is involved in rescue operations, the army said.

PHOTO: A Nepalese man attends to an elderly victim of Saturday's earthquake, while they wait for ambulances after being evacuated at the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, April 27, 2015.
A Nepalese man attends to an elderly victim of Saturday's earthquake, while they wait for ambulances after being evacuated at the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, April 27, 2015.
Altaf Qadri/AP Photo

In Kathmandu, many streets are impassable, filled not only with rubble but with the injured. Drone footage captures the chaos in the streets as global rescue teams continue to dig through collapsed buildings in search for buried survivors.

Thousands of people are fleeing Kathmandu, unwilling to go into any building, fearing the effects of another aftershock.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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