An RAAF C-17 Globemaster will shortly be headed to Kathmandu with humanitarian and disaster relief supplies as part of the global effort to support Nepal following the devastating earthquakes that struck on Saturday.
Defence Minister Kevin Andrews said the C-17 will also be used to evacuate Australian citizens and approved foreign nationals from the Nepal capital to Bangkok.
“Defence will support the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) led Australian Government response to the earthquake in Nepal under Operation Nepal Assist,” the Minister said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The RAAF C-17A aircraft is currently being prepared to depart from RAAF Base Amberley. Departure timings will be determined by availability of airport access in Kathmandu.
“Defence stands ready to provide additional support as directed by the Australian Government.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are suffering as a result of this earthquake.”
The death toll from the magnitude-7.9 earthquake that struck Kathmandu on Saturday afternoon has so far exceeded 4,000, on top of the at least 6,000 injured.
The United Nations said eight million people have been affected by the earthquake, with more than 1.4 million people in need of food assistance. Many have also lost their homes and were forced to sleep outdoors in makeshift tent cities that have been created.
Australia, which is also sending A$5 million in aid, is one of many countries that have pledged support in such a time of need.
Neighbouring countries such as China, India and Pakistan have all offered humanitarian aid and sent specialist teams to help with the rescue effort, while Israel, Japan, the US and UK were also part of the emergency relief effort.