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First planeload of French aid arrives in Nepal

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Nepalese police personnel try to stop earthquake victims from blocking traffic in a protest at the government's lack of aid provided to the victims in Kathmandu Reuters

The first planeload of French aid to earthquake-hit Nepal arrived on Wednesday morning, France's foreign affairs ministry announced, adding that two others were on their way. As the quake's death toll soared over 5,000, French officials were still trying to locate 514 French nationals.


A plane laid on by the Airbus company landed in Kathmandu with 55 healthworkers and aid workers and 25 tonnes of equipment, including medicine, food and shelter, on board.

"Two other flights carrying rescue workers and 60 tonnes of humanitarian aid are expected to arrive soon," a ministry statement said.

One of the planes was stuck in Abu Dhabi, waiting for authorisation to land in Kathmandu, whose small airport is clogged up by international arrivals.

The planes will repatriate the "most vulnerable" French citizens, for example those with injuries or children.

The ministry has located 2,209 French citizens "safe and sound" and 230 have been put up at the French school in Kathmandu, the ministry said, while 514 have not yet been contacted.

Two French citizens are confirmed to have died and a third is feared to have been killed by an avalanche.

About 20 French nationals have been injured, four of them seriously, according to the ministry.

The death toll stood at over 5,000 on Wednesday and about 250 were missing after an avalanche on Monday.

Thousands of Nepal's 28 million citizens were made homeless.