Nepal quake: 1,000 EU citizens still unaccounted for, says envoy

At Kathmandu’s historic Durbar Square, soldiers and volunteers form human chains to remove the debris, brick by brick.
The bricks come from temples and other historic buildings levelled by the earthquake. Many are very old and are being stored so that they can be used to rebuild these ancient sites.
The soldiers are joined by aid workers – but also tourists. One French visitor said she “just wanted to help”. But it’s an ad hoc approach which characterises the entire relief operation.
I met rescue and medical teams from France and China. After wandering around they left. “We don’t know what we are supposed to be doing,” one French rescue worker told me.
Their services are required in the remote villages where many are in urgent need of assistance – but they are stuck here in the capital because no-one is telling them what to do.
The quake struck during peak trekking season in a country popular with mountaineers. Twelve EU citizens are known to have died so far. Some of them were killed by avalanches, triggered by the quake, that struck base camp below Mount Everest.
The EU envoy to Nepal, Rensje Teerink, said the authorities did not know the whereabouts of some 1,000 other EU citizens.
“They are missing but we don’t know what their status is,” she told reporters in the capital, Kathmandu.
Another EU official, speaking to the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity, said most of the missing were likely to be found safe.
Many backpackers do not register with their embassies when they arrive in Nepal, which has made it harder to trace them, Reuters news agency reports.

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