UK

Nepal earthquake: British gap year student confirmed dead

Matthew Carapiet Image copyright Carapiet family

The family of a British backpacker missing in Nepal since last month's earthquake has paid tribute to him after confirming his death.

Matthew Carapiet, 23, from Kent, had been trekking north of the capital Kathmandu just before the disaster.

His family said the architecture student was "kind, happy and caring" and "made a huge impression" on others.

More than 7,500 people were killed in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake which struck on 25 April.

The architecture student from Bearsted was trekking in the Langtang valley as part of his gap year.

Image copyright Carapiet family
Image caption Matthew Carapiet had been trekking in Nepal before the earthquake devastated the Himalayan country

In a statement, released through the Foreign Office, his family said: "Matt was touring Asia in a gap year before planning to continue his architecture studies in the autumn.

"He spoke to us regularly about how much he was enjoying his travels and we know he was doing something that he loved."

They added: "Matt is loved by his family and friends who all have countless memories of how kind, happy and caring he was.

"He made a huge impression on the lives of everyone he met."

Gurkhas deployed

The news of Mr Carapiet's death came as the UK government said 92 more Gurkhas had been deployed to Nepal to provide aid.

The Gurkhas, from the 36 Engineer Regiment based in Kent, will boost the total number of UK military personnel in the region to almost 300.

Aid from the UK's Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has reached more than 60 villages, towns and camps in the weeks following the earthquake, which has also left more than 14,500 injured.

More than 4,000 aid workers from around the world have been helping with relief and rescue operations.

Image copyright Jessica Lea/DFID
Image caption A previous group of Gurkha engineers has set up a water purification system in Kathmandu

The Gurkhas, who arrived in two groups on Friday and Saturday, will focus on providing support to the villages of serving and veteran Gurkhas and their families, the Ministry of Defence said.

They are expected to stay for about three months.

A separate team of Gurkha engineers has already been deployed to set up a water purification system in Kathmandu.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "The British Army Gurkhas deploying have a unique set of local knowledge, language skills and engineering experience, making them a vital element of the international response.

"We recognise that this terrible disaster will have directly affected our own Gurkha community and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time."

Image copyright AP
Image caption The DEC said a 'huge amount' of work is needed before the monsoon rains hamper relief efforts

The DEC appeal, fronted by Absolutely Fabulous star and Gurkha campaigner Joanna Lumley, has raised £45m to date.

The UK government's humanitarian response now stands at £23m, which includes a pledge to match the first £5m raised by the public for the DEC appeal.

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: "The overwhelming generosity of the UK public will help families get through the next few months and rebuild their lives over the coming years.

"Our members' teams have been are working around the clock to provide essential aid. However, a huge amount of work remains to be done before the monsoon rains make the response even more difficult and the risk of disease outbreaks increase."

The Department for International Development has flown out 54 tonnes of humanitarian aid supplies, including more than 1,100 shelter kits and some 1,700 solar lanterns, while the RAF has been transporting supplies and equipment from India to Kathmandu.

Related Topics