Canadian couple confirmed dead in Nepal
Saturday, May 2, 2015, 1:25 PM - A couple from Edmonton, Alberta missing since last Saturday in Nepal is confirmed dead.
Bruce and Kathy Macmillan died in the devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck on April 25, about 80 km northwest of the capital Kathmandu.
The death toll has surpassed 7,000 and continues to rise as search and rescue teams find more bodies under the endless piles of rubble. More than 14,000 people have been injured. On Sunday, four people were rescued from the rubble in a small village, eight days after the earthquake.
"It is with our deepest regret and sorrow that we now advise you that our sister Kathy Macmillian (Smith) and our brother Bruce Macmillan have both perished in the Nepalese earthquake," the family posted on the a Facebook page dedicated to finding the missing couple.FULL QUAKE COVERAGE
- WEATHER: Looming monsoon season jeopardizes Nepal quake recovery
- SCIENCE: How scientists predicted the Nepal quake
- IMAGES: Scenes from the Nepal quake disaster zone
- VIDEO: What it felt like when the Nepal quake struck
- VIDEO: Everest avalanche caught on camera
- VIDEO: Nepal quake caught on security camera
- VIDEO: Avalanche descends Mount Everest after the Nepal quake
- VIDEO: Canadian climbers caught in the Nepal quake zone
The Edmonton pair had been hiking near the village of Chyamki in the Langtang Valley, which was an area buried in the avalanche.
"Their trip marked a 35 year anniversary to revisit Nepal, an area visited shortly after they were married. Kathy and Bruce passed away while travelling the world, their passion from the moment they were married," the post read.
The couple had been travelling in Asia for the past six moths with their sons, Fraser, 28, and Jay, 30, CBC reported.
Instead of going with his parents to Nepal, Jay had decided to stay in New Delhi. Shortly after the earthquake hit, Fraser sent a message to an aunt explaining to her that he was safe but had to run for his life, according to CBC.
"This earthquake has been an enormous tragedy impacting lives across the globe," the family said on Facebook. "It has made ours, and the world a smaller place."
Nepalese authorities temporarily closed the main airport Sunday to large aircrafts delivering aid due to runway damage. The runway was built only to handle medium-size jetliners and not the large military and cargo planes that have been flying supplies into the country, Birendra Shrestha, manager of Tribhuwan International Airport told Associated Press.
"You've got one runway, and you've got limited handling facilities, and you've got the ongoing commercial flights," Jamie McGoldrick, the UN coordinator for Nepal told Associated Press. "You put on top of that massive relief items coming in, the search and rescue teams that has clogged up this airport. And I think once they put better systems in place, I think that will get better."
Canada is sending more help to Nepal, deploying members of Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) from Canadian Forces Base Trenton immediately. This was announced on Saturday by federal officials.
"The loss of life and the destruction of civilian homes and communities have been overwhelming," Chris Alexander, citizenship and immigration minister said. "Today's announcement of the immediate deployment of additional DART elements to the affected region is evidence of Canada's ongoing support and dedication to the relief effort."
It was recommended on Friday by a civilian-led assessment team already on the ground in Nepal that additional help was required to assist in relief efforts.
Elements of DART will be deployed on a phased approach, officials said. Field and construction engineers, medical assistance, laboratory, pharmacy, preventative medicine and other services will be made available.
One week after the devastating quake, thousands of people are missing in Nepal.
Although relief operations have been underway in Nepal, much more needs to be done, says the country's minister of information and communications Minendra Rijal.
The government has provided more than 4,700 tents and 22,000 tarpaulins to the homeless.
"Life is returning to normal, but it will be some time to be completely normal," he told CNN. "We have still not been able to properly manage to provide relief."
Many have yet to receive aid and the United Nations have urged Nepal to loosen up on customs clearance, which has held up delivery of supplies to survivors.
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos reminded Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Saturday of a 2007 signed agreement with Nepal for quick and easy clearance in the event of a disaster.
"He has undertaken to ensure that happens, so I hope that from now we will see an improvement in those administrative issues," she told AFP news agency.
As the Nepalese carry on in the midst of great adversity, the country is also at risk of disease outbreak.
Food and water have become scarce and thousands are living on the streets with poor sanitation threatening public health.
Although dengue fever, malaria, tuberculosis and Japanese encephalitis are three illnesses that already exist in Nepal, Dr. Nikhil Joshi told CBC that pools of water from the quake will attract mosquitoes to transmit the diseases.
"There will be water-borne diseases like typhoid fever and things like bacterial diarrhea could be another huge problem," he said. "Put a bunch of people together who are sick, tired and malnourished and you've got a serious problem. Sadly this isn't unique. After an epidemic, we often see outbreaks of infectious disease."
As UNICEF, Canadian Red Cross and other organizations provide life-saving assistance to the Nepalese, UBC researchers are developing a way to change blood from one type to another.
Experts have produced a mutant enzyme that works to eliminate sugars that constitute Types A and B, turning them into Type O.
"If the Red Cross has the ability to convert excess A or B Type into O that could be used by anybody, it could help to alleviate those situations," project lead Steve Withers told News1130.
There are four subtypes of Type A, Withers explained. The first enzyme was relatively successful at cleaning one of the subtypes, but was not as good at the other three.
It will most likely take another decade of work until this might be available for clinical use, said Withers.
How you can help
- Respond to UNICEF Canada's appeal for Nepal relief donations.
- Donate to the Canadian Red Cross effort in Nepal.
- Plan Canada is asking for donations to is a charity that has worked in Nepal since 1978. The group has been providing life-saving emergency assistance to those affected. Click here to make a donation.
- Google's crisis response team launched a person finder for the incident where people can submit information available on people in the area as well as search for information made available by people in the area.
- Red Cross also set up a people finder to help those searching for affected by the quake.
- Canada will match dollar-for-dollar all eligible contributions to the Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund until May 25.