Nepal earthquake: UK government gives £5m

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMountaineer Jost Kobusch filmed the moment of the Mount Everest avalanche

The UK has given £5m to help people affected by the Nepal earthquake, which has killed more than 3,600 people.

The government said it had released £3m to address immediate needs and £2m would be given to the Red Cross.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen was "shocked to hear of the appalling loss of life and injuries" and "her thoughts and prayers are with the victims".

A number of Britons have been caught up in Saturday's earthquake and the powerful aftershock felt on Sunday.

Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted that a UK search and rescue team would be travelling to Nepal on Sunday night with RAF aircraft being sent on Monday.

According to Nepalese officials, at least 3,617 people have died and more than 6,500 people have been injured.

At least 18 people have been killed in avalanches on Mount Everest.

Climbers and their guides have been cut off from Everest's devastated base camp, but as the weather cleared on Monday, Nepalese officials said four helicopters have been deployed to rescue the climbers stranded at the first and the second camp.

Image caption It has been confirmed that 18 people have been killed on Mount Everest - the mountain's worst-ever tragedy

Tourism department director general Tulsi Gautam told the BBC there were 210 mountaineers trapped in the two camps and several of them have already been brought down to the base camp and nearby villages.

Alex Staniforth, 19, from Chester, who had been trapped for two nights, messaged that he has now been evacuated.

His latest tweet reads: "Evacuated to base camp. Emotionally trashed & all gear swept away. VERY LUCKY to be alive please let everyone know".

A team of Ghurkas were also trapped on the mountain but have now been evacuated.

Image copyright G200E
Image caption The Ghurkhas, who are recruited from the Highlands of Nepal, have been playing a pivotal role co-ordinating the evacuation from Everest Camp One

Their latest update reveals: "Great news! The team are safely back in base camp.

"They are recovering what they can of their personal kit and equipment, and will spend two days at base camp to consolidate and assist with the recovery effort."

The Ministry of Defence says all UK military personnel on Everest are safe.

A total of 36 British military personnel were part of three separate teams on the mountain when the earthquake hit.

They are not all in the same location, and some are waiting to be airlifted, but the MoD said they were all accounted for.

The earthquake struck in the midst of the spring season in Nepal, when most of the attempts to climb mountains in the region are made.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said "we would expect there to be several hundred British nationals in Nepal" but there were currently no reports of any Britons killed or injured.

"British embassy staff have helped over 200 British nationals who've presented at the embassy directly," he said.

The Foreign Office has released an emergency number - +44 (0) 207 008 0000 - for people worried about loved ones who may have been in the area at the time.

Image copyright Alex Schneider and Sam Chappatte
Image caption Alex Schneider (L) and Sam Chappatte (R) were making their second attempt at Everest

A British couple on their honeymoon were among a number of Britons caught up in the earthquake and subsequent avalanches in the Everest area.

Alex Schneider and Sam Chappatte, described seeing an "avalanche coming straight" at them.

Tom Elphinstone and Zara Carey, both 26 and from London, had been hiking the Annapurna circuit in western Nepal and were in the town of Tansen when the earthquake hit.

They have told family members of "swaying streets" and being in a building which moved "like a ship" with "plaster falling off the walls".

The Department for International Development (DfID) has deployed a team of more than 60 search and rescue responders and medical experts to support the relief effort in Nepal.

Image copyright Lucy Elphinstone
Image caption Tom Elphinstone and his girlfriend Zara Carey were travelling in western Nepal when they were caught up in the earthquake

A DfID-chartered flight from London is expected to arrive in Kathmandu on Monday carrying seven search and rescue crews, four search and rescue dogs, a medical support team and a hazardous materials specialist.

They are taking more than 11 tonnes of kit, including torches, axes, rope, search cameras, stretchers and tents.

A Foreign Office Rapid Deployment Team to provide further consular assistance for British nationals will also be on board along with experts from leading aid agencies including the British Red Cross, Medecins Sans Frontieres and Map Action, an international disaster mapping charity.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: "These are brave men and women who will be doing crucial, life-saving work on behalf of the UK."

Adam Turner, from Lincolnshire, who works for the charity Search and Rescue Assistance in Disasters (SARAID) and is heading for Nepal, told the BBC: "It's inherently risky to work in a disaster zone. There have already been a number of aftershocks"

Image copyright PA
Image caption SARAID is one of the many British charities flying to Nepal to help people affected by the quake

Tanya Barron, from Plan International, told the BBC of the scenes she had encountered while travelling through the more remote areas of the region.

She said that although Kathmandu was in an "area of devastation and massive need" the remote mountainous villages were "almost without any support".

She added: "The government is doing a good job but nevertheless I have just driven past families sitting in the middle of the rubble of their homes trying to make little tarpaulins with small children.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption There are fears expedition teams may be trapped on other peaks in the Everest area

"There was an aftershock of 6.7... which is a pretty big earthquake on a normal day. Many more houses were brought down so now as we travel through the countryside we see thousands of people camping out on hill sides with very little shelter."

An earthquake consultant working for the UK government said Nepal was unprepared for an earthquake of this scale.

Jon Bennett, from Oxford Development Consultants, had travelled to Nepal two weeks ago on behalf of the UK government to assess how ready the country was for an earthquake.

He told BBC Radio 5 live: "We knew, when we were looking at the situation out there, that if there was going to be a very large earthquake like this, the level of the preparedness in the country was nowhere near sufficient to cope with the kind of events that were likely to unfold, as indeed has been the case."