11 May 2015 11:52 PM AEST: Nepal has denied entry to three helicopters sent by the British Army to participate in the humanitarian relief operations in the quake-devastated country where over 8,000 people have lost their lives so far.
Three Chinook helicopters had been waiting in New Delhi for permission to enter Nepal for nearly a week. But they have now been formally denied access due to safety concerns, AFP reported today, May 11.
“We have told the British authorities that they cannot fly their Chinook helicopters here because our technical team says they are likely to damage the houses and other buildings in the Kathmandu valley,” spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tara Pokharel, told AFP Monday.
He said the government was worried about loose materials such as roofs and windows that could be blown away by the Chinooks which are said to be bigger than Mi-17s currently being used by the Nepalese Army.
The fear of the Nepali officials emanate from an earlier incident in which an Osprey helicopter of the US Army reportedly blew away the roof of a house in a remote village.
The rejection of the choppers is a loss for the country which desperately needs more aircraft to transport relief materials to areas that are accessible either by air or foot.
Currently, helicopters from India, China and the USA are transporting food, medicines and tents to one of the most difficult terrains in the world.
The southasia.com.au called the spokespersons of the Nepalese Army and Ministry of Foreign Affairs but could not be contacted.