Nearly a hundred Maldivian students and their families are awaiting evacuation from Nepal after Saturday’s earthquake which has killed over 3000 people and left thousands more injured and homeless.
All Maldivians are safe, the foreign ministry has confirmed.
Foreign minister Dunya Maumoon says flights are on standby for clearance from India to use the country’s airspace, according to Haveeru.
Majority of the Maldivians in Nepal are at the capital Kathmandu’s police academy grounds, and will be brought back within 48 hours, a senior official at the foreign ministry told Minivan News.
The Maldivian honorary consul in Nepal is providing food, water and blankets, the foreign ministry has said.
Some 14 Maldivians in south eastern Biratnagar have crossed over to India. The foreign ministry said it has faced some challenges in tracking down all Maldivians in Nepal, and said the consul is transporting Maldivians in other areas of the country to Kathmandu.
The Islamic ministry is also allocating funds from its Zakat fund for evacuation, the foreign ministry said.
President’s office spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz tweeted last night that the evacuation flight is sponsored by the tourism industry.
President decides to send the Maldivian flight, sponsored by the Tourism industry to bring Maldivians in #Nepal.
— Ibrahim Muaz Ali (@SpokespersonMV) April 26, 2015
Nepal was struck with a 7.8 magnitude on April 25. Recent reports from the BBC suggest that the official death toll will climb as rescue efforts continue. Thousands of people are believed to be trapped under rubble. The earthquake also triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest and damaging its base camp. The quake has destroyed thousands of buildings and historic monuments.
The Maldivian red crescent and the Maldivian medical association have set up a Nepal relief fund to collect money for relief efforts. Many Maldivian medical students in Kathmandu are reported to be helping out at hospitals.
#NepalReliefFund Donate now pic.twitter.com/RmeHFHRyow
— MV Red Crescent (@maldivianrc) April 27, 2015
Telecoms providers Ooredoo and Dhiraagu have announced they will not levy charges for calls to Nepal for the next three days to enable customers to get in touch with family members in Nepal.
President Abdulla Yameen on Saturday sent a message of sympathy to the Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, stating: “At this hour of deep distress, the people of the Maldives stand together with our Nepalese friends, while wishing the recovery efforts every success.”
The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party said that the party was “profoundly saddened by the loss of lives, and great damages” caused by the earthquake.