SABC News - Gift of the Givers sends first rescue team to Nepal:Monday 27 April 2015

Gift of the Givers sends first rescue team to Nepal

Monday 27 April 2015 12:45

SABC

Gift of the Givers is taking highly specialized rescue equipment to assist those trapped in the rubble.

Gift of the Givers is taking highly specialized rescue equipment to assist those trapped in the rubble.(REUTERS)

The Gift of the Givers Foundation has been given confirmation to enter Nepal to assist in rescue missions following the powerful earthquake that struck the Himalayan nation on Saturday.

A number of international charities have already dispatched their teams to quake hit areas in Nepal. Over 3 400 people are now known to have died and another 6 500 injured.

Gift of the Givers founder, Imtiaz Sooliman, says the team is ready to assist the quake-hit country, and they are sending the first rescue team to Nepal on Monday. It has put together a highly-qualified team of 40 medical and rescue personnel.

"The first teams will leave today (Sunday). They will be the search and rescue component with all the search and rescue equipment for rescue. Also with the advanced search and rescue team we are sending five medical specialists, three of which are from Nepal. They have already made arrangements for us to be received on the other side by medical teams. We will also be taking medical supplies for the hospitals and all those items that are required. We are sending tents, blankets and other items flown in from Dubai into Nepal."

Sooliman says they are taking some of the highly specialized rescue equipment to assist those trapped in the rubble.

"The equipment includes a life locator. It is a special machine that once it is put on the ground, in three minutes it can tell you who is alive 10 meters under the rubble. It can locate who is breathing, whose head is moving and which building you should search in. And then we have what is called the search cam which is a video camera which we can then use to get into the building."

A number of South Africans are currently in Nepal. The Foundation says its team is determined to bring back all the South Africans who are stuck in Nepal.

Sooliman says that while South Africans have made contact with their families from Nepal, they have since lost contact with them.

"People first said there were only school kids from St Marys, there were 19 school kids from St Marys, then someone called me yesterday and said: I'm Peter Turner, my son is caught up, he is safe, he is at the top of a base camp, he can’t come down. Then we had another five members of one family, then a Mr Kevin Moodley phoned me yesterday and then I got a message from somewhere else saying that three members of their family have been caught up. Most of them have made contact before the tremors hit yesterday, but it is possible that because there is no electricity, their phones must have died or there is no network. Most of them have spoken to family members within 48 hours of the quake, but have lost contact with them since then."

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