Russian Aid In Nepal
Mourners react at a cremation near Kathmandu. Russian speakers from all CIS states are flocking to a camp run by Russia's foreign aid agency. Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Russia’s foreign aid agency is providing assistance to citizens of the Russia-led Commonwealth of Independent States in Nepal following the devastating magnitude 7.9 earthquake that rocked the mountainous South Asian country on Saturday. The CIS is a loose, catch-all bloc formed by nine post-Soviet states after the fall of the USSR in 1991. About 250 people have sought refuge, food and medical care in a camp set up by the Foreign Ministry’s Rossotrudnichestvo agency, its head said on Tuesday.

Rossotrudnichestvo has invited all Russian speakers seeking relief to come to the camp. The agency's head, Lyubov Glebova, said many of those at the camp are “dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake” by clearing debris and helping victims. Russian authorities in Nepal are working with the Nepalese government to locate all “fellow countrymen who need evacuation.”

“The local authorities have expressed gratitude for help, and ordinary citizens of Nepal thank them for their personal involvement and contribution,” he said, reports ITAR-TASS.

The Nepalese government is struggling to provide aid to devastated communities in the mountainous country. Only specially equipped helicopters can reach Nepal’s most remote regions, greatly limiting the response to the disaster. Charities and relief organizations such as the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders have been the drivers behind the bulk of the emergency response.

At least 5,057 people were killed and 10,000 injured in the massive quake, but those numbers are expected to rise as rescue and recovery teams continue their work. Mudslides and aftershocks continue to endanger millions of Nepalese surrounding the epicenter of the quake, which though just roughly 50 miles from the capital, Kathmandu, has seen little in the way of government relief. The Nepalese government’s lackluster response has earned the ire of many people living in the country’s hard-to-reach areas.

The U.S. military provided transport to Kathmandu for Fairfax, Virginia's elite urban search and rescue team this week. The team's 69 members and K-9 dogs arrived early Tuesday and will assist the Nepalese government in its response efforts.