Three RAF Chinook heavy lift helicopters sent to help with the earthquake relief effort in Nepal are stuck on the ground in Delhi having been prevented from entering the disaster struck country by the Nepalese government themselves. The Department for International Development (DfID) confirmed that the Chinooks had yet to join relief efforts in Nepal after Nepalese authorities expressed concern that the size of the aircraft would actually cause more damage to buildings whilst taking off and landing.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence revealed that there are is a contingent of between 30 and 40 crew and engineers waiting with the three Chinooks for authorization to commence operations. The fact that the helicopters have been transported in to the area and not been used has led to questions being raised over the cost of the operation and whether the deployment of the helicopters was discussed with the Nepalese government before they were flown out.
The RAF has been operational in Nepal since the first of two earthquakes struck the country on April 25th flying out large numbers of British, Canadian, American and European citizens. Since the second earthquake two days ago the US contingent has suffered the loss of one of its helicopters which was operating in an area of Nepal where the effects of the second earthquake were more severe. Nepal’s biggest airport was also forced to close for several hours because it was inundated with humanitarian aircraft and it simply couldn’t cope.