SA's Gift of the Givers to leave for Nepal

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake has also left some climbers stuck around Mount Everest.

Members from humanitarian group, Gift of the Givers team packing their aid ahead of their travel to Nepal to help victims of an earthquake. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The first South African team will leave for Nepal this afternoon where the death toll from Saturday's massive earthquake is nearing 5,000 and has displaced thousands of others.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake has also left some climbers stuck around Mount Everest after triggering avalanches.

At least 18 people died there.

Food, medical equipment, sanitation and other basic necessities are packed up at the Gift of the Givers Foundation warehouse where the first team will leave later today to join others from various parts of the world as Nepal reels from the devastating quake.

The Gift of the Givers Foundation's Ahmed Bham said rescuers are still battling to reach some villages in the south Asian nation.

"It's not just to retrieve people from rubble. It's about getting into those inaccessible places and getting relief to those people."

Thirty-six people, put together by the Gift of the Givers Foundation include rescue and medical personnel.

A second rescue team is set to leave for Nepal later this week.


A humanitarian crisis looms in the earthquake-stricken country.

The United Nations said as many as 8 million people in the country have been affected by the disaster.

Meanwhile, South African adventurer Sean Wisedale said he and other mountaineers in the region have been left rattled.

Search and rescue teams are scouring the Himalayas looking for survivors who were caught in avalanches triggered by the earthquake.

With limited medical supplies, Wisedale said everyone in the camp where he's based are doing the best they can.

"Communication is sketchy here because everything has been damaged. You know the camp is post Armageddon, it's ridiculous and the debris is strewn over hundreds and hundreds of metres over the camp."


Families are still waiting for news of the loved ones who are unable to get out of Nepal.

Sue Sherman says her son, Mike Sherman and his girlfriend, Kate Ahrends, are still stranded in the Langtang valley where they only have two days' worth of supplied left.

"As a mom it's not easy. Not knowing whether they are alive or dead is terrible."

PICTURE: Mike Sherman and Kate Ahrends.

Meanwhile, a South African woman who identified herself only as 'Tannie', says her sister was on a plane travelling to Tibet when the deadly earthquake struck.

"Something happened to the plane, there was some delay with the door not closing properly and as they were sitting there, the earthquake came."

Rescuers are currently working under harsh weather conditions as they dig through the rubble of collapsed buildings.