A 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday, collapsing structures throughout the region.
Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the United States is providing an additional $9 million in aid for earthquake-ravaged Nepal.
The added funding brings to $10 million dollars the total amount announced by the U.S. since Saturday’s quake, which has left more than 3,700 people dead.
The U.S. Agency for International Development statement said the money will be used for immediate relief, including search-and-rescue efforts, and providing emergency shelter, clean water and sanitation. According to a USAID statement, the aid also will go to Nepal’s longer term recovery, building on “longstanding partnerships and development assistance.”
The immediate aid included activating an elite Virginia-based earthquake rescue team. The 56-member unit deployed Sunday along with several USAID officials en route to Nepal.
The Virginia Task Force, from Fairfax County near Washington, was “bringing search capability, digging capability, the ability to get to people who are entombed in the rubble, extricated from the rubble and handed over to qualified medical care,” said Chuck Ryan, deputy fire chief.
A group of 57 specially-trained firefighters from Los Angeles is also on its way to take part in search and rescue efforts and deliver 25 tons of equipment and supplies
The Pentagon said two U.S. military special forces teams in Nepal on a training exercise are now supporting disaster relief, including high altitude search and rescue and medical assistance.
A spokesman added that “by sheer coincidence” the U.S. military last week provided equipment to the Nepal government to improve its emergency response capabilities.
Numerous private U.S. charities and organizations have also rallied to provide relief. Among them is the American Nepal Society. The group’s director, Jean Tinware told VOA Urdu in addition to appealing for funds, the society is helping send volunteer doctors and engineers, and trying to set up a hub on the outskirts of Katmandu to channel aid to affected areas of remote areas of the country.
VOA’s State Department Correspondent Pamela Dockins, White House Correspondent Aru Pande and Pentagon Correspondent Carla Babb all contributed to this report.