Nepal earthquake: British army Gurkhas join quake relief efforts in their homeland

LONDON (REUTERS) - Britain has sent a team of its famed Nepalese Gurkha soldiers to help survivors of the earthquake in their Himalayan homeland.

The international development ministry said the Gurkha engineers were travelling on a flight carrying more than 1,100 shelter kits and over 1,700 solar lanterns.

Earlier on Tuesday, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said that the death toll in the country could reach 10,000.

The Gurkhas are legendary fighters who have served in the British army since 1815 and taken part in two world wars and many other conflicts, from the Falklands to Iraq and Afghanistan. Their trademark is their curved kukri knife, which according to tradition must draw blood every time it is unsheathed.

Overseas aid finally began arriving in Nepal, three days after Saturday's 7.9 magnitude quake.