Five London firefighters have flown to Nepal to help the rescue effort in the quake-hit country.

London Fire Brigade officers who are specially trained for urban search and rescue missions will join the hunt for survivors following Saturday’s devastating earthquake, which has killed more than 4,000 people.

They formed part of a 67-strong team deployed to Kathmandu by the Department for International Development.

 The unit was carrying 14.5 tonnes of high-tech equipment including specialist cameras and acoustic and seismic listening equipment, which can detect people buried under huge mounds of rubble.

The search and rescue team, made up of members from fire services across the UK, also has four specially trained dogs to help find survivors.

Dave Brown, LFB’s director of operations, said: “I am proud that London Fire Brigade’s urban search and rescue capabilities are internationally recognised and that we can be part of a larger team making a big difference in such dreadful circumstances.”

Communication problems in the worst-affected areas mean families and friends around the world are still anxiously waiting for news of their loved one, with dozens of British and Irish people among those missing.

An RAF plane packed with supplies has also been dispatched to the crisis zone.

The 7.8-magnitude quake struck just before midday on Saturday, sending tremors through the Kathmandu Valley and the nearby city of Pokhara, and triggering an avalanche on Mount Everest which killed at least 17 people.

Aid workers on the ground have reported “huge logistical difficulties” as road closures and communication problems have thwarted some efforts.

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