Due to the difficult circumstances on the ground in Nepal, today I announce the Government’s plans to assist Australians to depart Nepal by Australian Defence Force aircraft to Bangkok.

The timing and frequency of the flights will be subject to capacity constraints at Kathmandu airport and approval by the Nepalese Government.

Once details of the military flights are known, DFAT will advise of the process for Australians to register their interest. Highly vulnerable Australians will be given priority.

I encourage Australians still in Nepal to continue to pursue all available commercial flight options to leave the country. The international airport in Kathmandu is open, although scheduled flights have been affected and there are lengthy delays.

Australia will send additional humanitarian experts to Kathmandu, including a small number of medical personnel to assist health coordination and needs assessments in the wake of the earthquake. A DFAT disaster expert will also join the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team.

Further humanitarian relief supplies will be delivered by the ADF aircraft on its arrival in Nepal, including much-needed water purification and hygiene kits, shelter and blankets.

This is in addition to the $5 million in life-saving humanitarian assistance Australia is already providing.

I have also agreed to allocate $1 million of Australia’s $5 million package of assistance to the World Health Organisation to procure urgently needed medical supplies.

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