AT LEAST 10 people from Singapore are listed as missing in Nepal, following Saturday's devastating earthquake.
There are 1,765 people from all over the world listed on the online Red Cross registry Restoring Family Links, which allows people to leave details of family members and friends who are uncontactable in Nepal.
Among those listed as missing is Singaporean Liang Kaixiang, 27, who was hiking in the Kangchenjunga region east of Nepal.
His brother, investment banker Liang Yinwei, 30, said he last spoke to Kaixiang on April 20.
"We think he's fine, just uncontactable, and hope he will get in touch soon," he said. "He's quite far from the epicentre of the quake, and he did say he would be off the grid for a while."
Mr Liang, an adventure tourism graduate, is on a two-month hiking trip with his girlfriend Cheng Hui Yun, 27, who also cannot be reached, although she is not listed on the registry.
Ms Maggi Ong also confirmed that she had not heard from her brother, Mr Hunter Ong, who is on the registry.
The Straits Times was unable to contact the families of the eight remaining names still listed as missing.
They are: Joanie Aw Yong, Jannah Suairi, Justin Ong, Lek Kai Ming, Ngiam Li Lian, Regina Matara Kalusayakkarage, Sanjit and Tan Chi Keong.
Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said yesterday: "While ground telecommunications pose severe challenges, MFA will keep in close touch with the Nepalese authorities and the next of kin of all Singaporeans in Nepal until they are accounted for."
A Crisis Response Team dispatched by the ministry has helped 89 Singaporeans and permanent residents get spaces on two departing RSAF C-130s yesterday. The team is also assisting Singaporeans who wish to leave at Kathmandu International Airport, by helping them secure seats on commercial flights, for instance.
Said team leader Danial Phua: "The airport was very congested, and flights were delayed yesterday due to inclement weather and heavy air traffic.
"Our Singaporeans were very calm and patient, and kept their spirits up under trying conditions."
The first RSAF plane was scheduled to arrive at Paya Lebar airbase at 12.45am this morning while the second was set to depart Kathmandu at 9.15pm yesterday.
Meanwhile, a Singapore relief contingent will be at Sankhu village, about 50km outside Kathmandu. It is understood that the village was completely flattened by the earthquake, and that no other rescue team has reached the area yet.
The 97-strong contingent consisting of 60 personnel from the Singapore Civil Defence Force, nine from the Singapore Police Force, and 28 from the Singapore Armed Forces, including 16 medics, is set to be there for two weeks.
More aid is arriving from Singapore for the earthquake victims, as the situation becomes increasingly desperate, with rescue efforts hampered by blackouts, supply shortages and transportation difficulties, and a death toll expected to climb significantly.
Singapore Red Cross said that people in Singapore have donated more than $200,000 to the effort.
DBS Bank has said it will match dollar for dollar all staff donations to the Singapore Red Cross-Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund, and it has made it possible for customers to donate through DBS and POSB ATMs.
Product manager Wanda Hu, 27, also started a fundraiser which aims to raise $100,000 for relief efforts.
Additional reporting by Chew Hui Min
- Singaporeans in Nepal who require consular assistance or advice can contact the MFA Duty Office (24 hours) at +65-6379-8800/8855 or firstname.lastname@example.org