The decision that also applies to India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), which has the largest presence in Nepal, comes in the wake of criticism by Nepalese on social media over "glorification" of New Delhi's aid efforts by the Indian media.

Nepal's Foreign Ministry said the government has asked countries to remove their 'first response' teams as the focus now shifts to relief rather than rescue.

"As such, Nepal has asked all rescue teams from 34 nations to withdraw. They now need rubble removal equipment and have asked India for help, an army engineering team will be going," the ministry said.

Teams from Japan, Turkey, Ukraine, UK and Netherlands have already begun the process of leaving Nepal.


    NDRF chief O P Singh said the reason behind the Nepalese government asking foreign rescue teams to leave is that the search operations have come to an end and there was very little chance of finding survivors from the debris.

"Keeping that in mind, we will be withdrawing from Nepal and we will be making our de-mobilisation plan, and we will be sending our troops back," he said.

Around 4,500 foreign rescue workers descended on the Himalayan nation following its worst disaster in over 80 years.

The widespread destruction has affected around 8 million of Nepal's 28 million population and the rescuers' departure would test the country's capabilities of handling the crisis through the remaining relief work and rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the 7.9-magnitude April 25 temblor rose to 7,365 while the number of injured has reached 14,355.

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Death toll crosses 7,000-mark; Nepal asks foreign rescue workers to return home

 

 

Kathmandu: The death toll from Nepal's devastating earthquake rose steadily past 7,000 and was likely to rise further as thousands were still missing.

 

Meanwhile, Nepal government asked hundreds of foreign rescue workers to leave the quake-hit country as immediate relief has already been provided and the remaining tasks will be carried out by its army and police.

The major rescue work in Kathmandu and surrounding areas is over and the remaining operations can be handled by local workers, Information Minister Minendra Rijal said.

However, there was work remaining in the villages and remote mountainous areas that could be carried out by foreign aid volunteers along with local police and army, he said.

The Central Natural Disaster Relief Committee - headed by Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister - had asked the government to bid adieu to the foreign rescue teams yesterday, eight days after the deadly earthquake hit the Himalayan nation.

Around 4,500 people from around 34 nations, including National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams from India, came to Nepal after the April 25 earthquake to carry out the rescue work and pull people out of the debris.

Most of the rescue teams were carrying out operations in the worst affected districts of the Kathmandu Valley, Sindhupalchowk and Gorkha districts.

"Its more than eight days after the earthquake. The rescue teams have served their purpose and we are very thankful to them.

"The Central Natural Disaster Relief Committee has recommended the government to thank these teams for the work they have done for Nepal so that they can exit the country. It is up to the government to take a call now," home ministry official Laxmi Prasad Dhakal said.

"According to the guidelines of International Search and Rescue Group (INSRAG) guidelines, the search and rescue teams have to be carried out for 7 days, when the survival chances are highest. The remaining search and rescue work will now be carried out by the Nepalese army and police," he added.

However, all the relief and medical teams are still in Nepal carrying out their operations.

The medical teams are expected to be in the country for some more time.

"The Health ministry will allow only a few teams of health workers to work in the country on the basis of their expertise. Others will be asked to return home.

"Relief teams are working in different teams, but topography and terrain of the nation is still acting as a major impediment in reaching out to the people. But foreign rescue team, the Indian and the American air forces are helping in reaching out to them," Dhakal added.