A German rescue organization and the French government said on Sunday they are sending rescue and relief teams to Nepal, where a massive earthquake left more than 2,000 dead.
International Search and Rescue Germany said a team of 52 relief workers including doctors, experts trained in searching for people buried under rubble and several dog squads are flying Sunday. The team will bring with them a mobile medical treatment center.
Spokesman Stefan Heine said the priority was to get to the scene of the quake as quickly as possible to find those still alive.
In France, the government said in a statement Sunday it is sending 11 rescuers and emergency equipment to Kathmandu Sunday.
In the Vatican, Pope Francis led prayers in St. Peter’s Square for the dead and displaced in Nepal and surrounding areas.
Francis called for assistance for the survivors during his weekly Sunday blessing. He said he was praying for the victims, the injured and “all those who are suffering from this calamity,” and asked that they have the “support and fraternal solidarity” they need.
The Vatican secretary of state sent a formal telegram of condolences seeking to encourage rescue crews and comfort the survivors Saturday.
Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake spread horror from Kathmandu to small villages and to the slopes of Mount Everest, triggering an avalanche that buried part of the base camp packed with foreign climbers.
The French Foreign Ministry has located 500 French citizens in the area who are alive and well, while Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo said authorities have been able to contact or locate 169 of the 319 Spaniards believed in Nepal. There were no indications there were any Spaniards among the victims, Margallo said.