Channel Seven has come under fire for its “insensitive” approach to coverage of the earthquake in Nepal, where more than 5000 people have been killed in the disaster.
Seven’s Sunday Night program travelled with Australian actor Hugh Sheridan from Los Angeles to Nepal in an effort to capture Sheridan’s reunion with his brother.
After the Saturday earthquake, Sheridan vocalised his concern for his 20-year-old brother Zach, who had been travelling in a remote part of the country when the disaster struck.
Late on Monday night, Sheridan received contact from his brother, who is safe in an isolated village near Mt Everest.
Having flown to Nepal to search for his brother, the former Packed to the Rafters star is now staying at the Shangri-La hotel with Sunday Night crew members.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the program is attempting to source one of the country’s helicopters to fly Sheridan to meet up with his brother, a move many have labelled selfish and insensitive.
Speaking to the ABC, Aid worker Matt Darvas said helicopters in Nepal were in high demand.
“The Nepal army and military helicopters are not suitable for the conditions here,” Mr Darvas said.
“I’ve been told they need smaller helicopters, the ones that are typically used to rescue tourists from the mountains and trekking expeditions which I’m afraid are being deployed in Kathmandu and the Everest regions.
“There is definitely a need here but nothing is reaching Gorkha, where thousands upon thousands of people in hundreds of villages are cut off.”
Sheridan and the network have been slammed on social media for living in the lap of luxury while thousands struggle to gain access to healthcare, food and water.
“Seriously @sundaynighton7 who gives a **** about Hugh Sheridan flying to Nepal to find his wealthy globetrotting brother. 5000+ ppl are dead,” one Twitter user wrote.
“It’s not all about
@hugh_sheridan!” another wrote.
Thank you for all your messages, I apologize for not responding yet, the service here is virtually impossible. Just got good wifi for the first time and I’m overwhelmed by what I read. I have no update from Zach yet, I’ll let you all know as soon as I do. Put your prayers into the people still unaccounted for and for #nepal the damage here is unbelievable and they are a beautiful people. I’ve spent the day trying to be useful for the local people. Donate to organizations you know are legit and that your money will definitely reach the people. Love to you all and thank you. #nepal #earthquake #donate #speaklove
A photo posted by Hugh Sheridan (@hugh_sheridan) on
The television crew, who are accompanied by Seven’s Health Editor and Australian Red Cross Ambassador Dr Andrew Rochford, have been unable to source a helicopter due the pressing aid demands elsewhere.
“It was apparent that others had more pressing needs, this is why the brothers have not yet been physically reunited,” a Channel 7 spokeswoman said in a statement to The Daily Telegraph.
Meanwhile, Sheridan has taken to social media to encourage his fans to donate to the cause, sharing the bank details of Cranbrook School in Sydney, which he describes as “the only organisation helping this community”.
A statement from Sunday Night says the program will “continue to assist Hugh and Tom to reach their brother and endeavouring to provide medical and communications assistance to others in Nepal affected by the earthquake”.