Nepal quake toll mounts to 3,200; after-shocks, rain hamper rescue

27 Apr 2015


The toll in the killer earthquake in Nepal is reported to have sharply risen to more than 3,200 by Monday morning even as rescue workers continued to sift through the debris of collapsed buildings looking for survivors.

Earthquake in NepalNepalese authorities have warned that the toll could reach 10,000 even as aftershocks continued to shake the Himalayan state. The extent of human toll would be clear only after clearing of all debris and that could take days even if rescue operations are fast-tracked, say authorities.

And, as aid poured in from all around, heavy rains followed the aftershocks leaving thousands in the capital, Katmandu, who sought safety in the streets under makeshift tents without enough clothes, food and medicine. For those who were happily living in their homes, the quake has thrown lives and livelihoods into a limbo.

Meanwhile, India on Sunday opened the road route for search and rescue of the earthquake-hit across the northern states and Nepal even as rains hampered the use of aircraft for evacuation of people.

Relief poured in to Katmandu from across the world even as another tremor of 6.8 magnitude occurred on Sunday around 12.39 pm IST at a depth of 10 km with its epicenter at about 65 km east of Kathmandu.

China has sent a 62-member search-and-rescue team to Nepal, along with six sniffer dogs and medical equipment. The Chinese government's news agency Xinhua on Sunday said China is providing about $3.2 million in tents, blankets, generators and other materials to be sent by charter flights to Nepal.

The US also ramped up disaster assistance with an initial $1 million for Nepal relief teams, with several aid groups dispatching humanitarian specialists, search-and-rescue workers and badly needed supplies.

With the latest figures available with the home ministry showing that over 2,200 people have been killed and 5,654 are injured, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for further increasing the pace of search and rescue operations, and evacuation of stranded people from Nepal.

Most people in the quake-hit areas of Nepal and India spend the cold night in the open because of a series of after-shocks that scared people after the 7.9-magnitude temblor left a trail of devastation and suffering.

Over a 1,000 people are reported killed in the Kathmandu Valley alone. Officials fear the toll could rise as desperate search for survivors continued.

The union home minister has instructed the Shastra Seema Bal (SSB) to set up camps along the border to provide medical help to tourists crossing India-Nepal border.

Ten teams of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) have already been pressed into action and six more teams will be dispatched to earthquake affected areas in Nepal. The immigration bureau has been instructed to give 'gratis visas' to all foreign tourists stranded in Nepal who are coming to India.

Four NDRF teams have been deployed, one each in Gopalganj, Motihari, Supaul and Darbhanga Districts of Bihar and one Team deployed in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.

A total 62 people have lost their lives in India, 259 people are reported to be injured, 56 houses/ buildings fully damaged and 248 houses/ buildings partially damaged.

As of now, the United States, India and China are among countries initiating their own relief efforts even as the government of Nepal struggles to face the Himalayan tragedy head on.

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