Asia Nepalis frustrated as earthquake toll rises above 5,200

Nepalis frustrated as earthquake toll rises above 5,200

 Photo taken on April 25, 2015 shows collapsed buildings after an earthquake in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal. Death toll in Nepal climbed to 711, the country’s Home Ministry said Saturday afternoon, hours after a major earthquake struck the country.
Photo taken on April 25, 2015 shows collapsed buildings after an earthquake in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal. Death toll in Nepal climbed to 711, the country’s Home Ministry said Saturday afternoon, hours after a major earthquake struck the country.

 (AA) – Tens of thousands of frustrated Nepalis have left the capital Kathmandu as the delivery of aid continues to be delayed in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. 

At least 5,266 people have been killed and more than 7,000 injured, according to figures released by Nepali police, with more bodies still being recovered by emergency services four days after the disaster hit.

Protests have begun to form in Kathmandu as people await promised aid from authorities and agencies as thousands of people have had to sleep in the open, despite bad weather, with limited access to water, food or sanitation.

Local volunteers have attempted to fill the gap, collecting funds and using them to distribute basic aid items, in particular tarpaulin sheets to shelter displaced people sleeping in the open. 

Moreover, police published a list of aid supplies, mostly consisting of tents, water and basic food, to be delivered to the worst-hit regions including the Kathmandu valley and Gorkha district.

A Nepal-based group of web developers, called Kathmandu Living Labs, has collated hundreds of reports from affected areas to map where aid and relief is needed. 

But with aftershocks ceasing and roads out of Kathmandu having been cleared, thousands are taking buses to villages in less affected areas of the country.

Relief efforts have begun to reach remote areas of the disaster zone that had previously been out of reach, though operations were limited by bad weather. 

U.S. President Barack Obama updated Nepali Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Washington’s disaster response efforts during a phone call Wednesday, according to the White House.

The White House said Obama “pledged that the United States will do all that it can to help the people of Nepal in their time of need.”  

Still, Nepalis remain on edge since Saturday’s magnitude-7.8 quake.

Nepali police announced Wednesday morning the arrest of the owner of a news website for publishing rumors about an “impending” earthquake that would be worse than the original. 

The U.N. said in an update published Monday night that an estimated 8 million people in 39 districts have been affected by the earthquake. 

It also reported that 1.4 million are in need of food aid and more than half of them were living near the epicenter of the quake in poor quality rural housing. 

Rajeev Dobhal, a wing commander in the Indian Air Force, said he glimpsed the destruction in remote aras when flying to Kathmandu as part of India’s relief teams.  

“Initially, when we saw the first visuals from the aircraft, villages were flattened,” he said. 

Doctors Without Borders said an initial aerial assessment of 65 villages in the vicinity of Kathmandu showed the majority had been visibly damaged or destroyed. 

The group said it was assessing access to water and sanitation in camps in Kathmandu and nearby Bhaktapur, an issue that has become a key concern as thousands remain displaced.

Saturday’s earthquake — the worst to hit the Himalayan nation since 1934 — destroyed buildings, ripped up roads and set off avalanches in the Himalayas, including one which tore through the Mount Everest base camp, killing at least 18 people.

Climbers at Everest’s base camp were being evacuated. Tour organizers Asian Trekking said Sherpa guides ensured the safety of climbers by taking them back to base camp. 

Nepali police released a list of 33 foreign nationals, including 14 Israelis, who have been reporting missing in different parts of the country. 

Several historic temples have collapsed, including in the Kathmandu Valley’s three iconic Durbar Squares — palatial plazas from the historic Newari kingdom. The 62-meter tall 19th century Dharahara tower in central Kathmandu, was also brought crashing down by the quake.

An additional 72 people were also killed in India, according to India’s home secretary L.C. Govak. Chinese state media reported 25 deaths in Tibet.

The international community has pledged millions of dollars in aid to Nepal and numerous governments — including regional neighbors China, India and Pakistan — and have sent search-and-rescue teams. 

Turkey also contributed to search-and-rescue efforts with specialist teams and doctors and has sent emergency aid to Nepal. 

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