GURKHA families and soldiers based at Catterick Garrison are calling on the Government to help relieve the 'tragic humanitarian crisis' in Nepal which has been struck down with a second wave of coronavirus as the Indian variant wreaks havoc.

Clinical Epidemiologist Dr Jagannath Sharma based at Catterick said the scenes of hospitals being overwhelmed and patients struggling to get help in Nepal are: "extremely heartbreaking and unbearable. He added: "We appeal to all MPs and councillors to lobby the UK government to provide immediate vaccines and other support."

North Yorkshire including Catterick Garrison, York and surrounding areas have strong links with serving and ex-Gurkhas whose families in Nepal are directly or indirectly affected by the crisis unfolding in the country. It's estimated there are around 150,000 Nepalis living in the UK.

"Many get phone calls from Nepal asking for help, but we are helpless," said ex- Gurkha Yem Gurung who lives in Catterick.

Dr Sharma said the Kathmandu Post had reported people are in dire need of oxygen but supplies are falling short and hospitals say they cannot take in new patients because of the lack of oxygen.

He added: "Sir Jeremy Farrar, the Director of the Welcome Trust, described the current situation in Nepal as 'beyond frightening'.

"Health services are poor, the doctor to patient ratio of 1 to 1724 is one of the lowest in the world. The fast-transmitted Indian variant in Nepal has further overwhelmed and crushed the healthcare system.

"The World Health Organisation has been providing support to monitor designated COVID-19 laboratories but more PCR testing facilities are required. Nepal urgently needs oxygen, ventilators, medicines and medical equipment. We need to immediately deploy the emergency medical response teams including scientific and healthcare professional expertise to Nepal to provide advice on prevention and control as well as clinical management in this crisis. This could involve UK Emergency Medical Team through UKAID.

"The UK Government should also consider mobilising Gurkha regiments to set up field hospitals and isolation centres in a similar way to how the Gurkhas were deployed after the earthquake in Nepal in 2015.

"The country needs access to vaccines. The UK, as the current G7 Chair, could leverage its international influence to secure the vaccine supply to Nepal."

Gurkha veterans Bini Gurung and Shanta Rai said : "We Gurkhas have shown our loyalty to the UK serving and protecting the UK in difficult times, now the UK Government should reciprocate this and provide urgent humanitarian support to Nepal."