Shortages grip Nepal as toll rises to 3,815 (updated)

Photos courtesy of Salesian Missions. To aid in their relief efforts, go to
Photos courtesy of Salesian Missions. To aid in their relief efforts, go to

N3N4N2N5Kathmandu (IANS) Food and water shortages sparked anger across Nepal on Monday as thousands remained in the open even two days after the country’s worst earthquake in eight decades left 3,815 dead and many more wounded, forcing Kathmandu to send out SOS for more international help.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi monitoring India’s relief efforts, New Delhi reached out to the Himalayan nation whose Prime Minister Sushil Koirala admitted frankly that operations following the devastating quake of Saturday were not effective.

The home ministry put the toll from the 7.9-magnitude temblor at 3,815, with Kathmandu accounting for nearly 1,000 deaths. A total of 6,515 people were injured, many seriously.

The highest toll of 1,021 among all districts was reported from Sindhupalchok, about 65 km from here. Kathmandu, where damage to property was maximum, suffered 920 fatalities.

Disaffection mounted in Nepal as people alleged poor relief and rescue work. Koirala told a meeting of political parties that poor infrastructure and lack of expertise were to blame.

The “rescue, relief and search operations have not been effective”, he said. “The lack of development in institutions has had a severe impact in calamities management so that we couldn’t make it happen as we thought.”

On Monday, a group of people sheltered in the premises of the Constituent Assembly staged a noisy protest while confronting policemen demanding food and drinking water.

Amid the protest, some women cooked noodles for their children in the open. “Shops are shut. This is the last food item I have. We are suffering due to lack of food and water,” Rama Sharma told IANS.

This IANS journalist received SMSes from people complaining they were not getting adequate assistance from the government.

Nepal Army admitted that people in 19 places in Kathmandu were still waiting for rescue work to begin. “People in these areas are calling us but we have not been able to do that due to several reasons,” said army spokesman General Jagadish Chandra Pokhrel.

Another officer admitted that heavy equipment cannot enter many narrow lanes of Kathmandu where destruction to property has been heavy.

Officials admitted that several districts outside Kathmandu were complaining that they were not getting relief material and adequate rescue work had not started.

The power outages have crippled ATMs. The few functional ATMs saw long queues of people.

Officials say about 4,000 houses in Kathmandu had been destroyed and around 11,000 had developed cracks. About 7,000 houses were also partially damaged. Kathmandu is home to over four million people.

Doctors have warned of epidemics breaking out, triggering mass movement out of Kathmandu.

The Nepal government said it urgently needed tents, dry food, mattresses, medicines and other basic essentials. Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal said India, China and other countries had been asked to provide more aid.

The remarks came as tens of thousands in the country spent another chilly night in the open, unable to return to their homes due to aftershocks or because their houses have crashed or become unsafe.

“We are not able to distribute enough drinking water, dry food, mattresses, and medicines to the earthquake victims in such a difficult situation,” the chief secretary said.

He admitted that the government didn’t have the exact data of damaged houses and properties inside and outside Kathmandu. “It is our preliminary estimate that the number of houses damaged is 10 times higher than that of deaths and injured people.”

But soldiers, police personnel and rescuers battled against heavy odds to rescue those still trapped under debris — and dig out the dead. Nepal has declared 29 out of its 70 districts as crisis zones.

Few vehicles plied on the streets of Kathmandu. Domestic flights have been suspended since Sunday. Schools have been shut for five days, and courts for three days.

Hospitals continued to treat the injured in the open due to fear of aftershocks.

India is supplying food, water, milk, clothes, medicines, RO plants, oxygen generators, tents and blankets, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said.







Kathmandu, April 27 (IANS) The death toll from the 7.9-magnitude temblor that struck Nepal was on Monday placed at 3,815, with Kathmandu accounting for nearly 1,000 deaths.

The home ministry said in a statement that another 6,515 people were injured. Saturday’s earthquake, the worst to hit Nepal since 1934, had its epicentre in Gorkha district.

According to the home ministry, 32 of the country’s 75 districts were affected in Saturday’s earthquake.

The highest death toll of 1,021 among all districts was reported from Sindhupalchok, about 65 km from here. Kathmandu, where damage to property was maximum, suffered 920 fatalities.

Nuwakot district accounted for 422 deaths, Dhading 299, Bhaktapur 240, Gorkha 223, Kavre 193, Lalitpur 157 and Rasuwa district 150.

The other fatalities were reported from Dolakha (46), Makwanpur (33), Ramechhap (26), Solukhumbu (21), Okhaldhunga (16), Sindhuli (9), Sunsari (7), Chitwan and Bara (5 each), Lamjung (4), Parsa (3), Kaski, Bhojpur and Morang (2 each) and Saptari, Dhanusha, Taplejung, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Nawalparasi, Tanahun, Rolpa and Rukum (1 each).



Kathmandu (IANS): The toll in the massive earthquake that devastated Nepal rose to over 2,500 on Sunday, the government said.

According to the police headquarters, as many as 777 people were killed in the capital Kathmandu alone, while 224 were killed in Bhaktapur.

The ministry of home affairs said 5,936 people were injured, according to reports received till 8.30 p.m. on Sunday.

A total of 11 districts were hit, of which the worst-affected were Kathmandu, Sindhupalchowk, Lalitpur, Gorkha and Bhaktapur.

The death toll in the three Kathmandu Valley districts — Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur — was 1,152 and 1,278 elsewhere.

The government said search and rescue operations were continuing and the toll may rise further.

Meanwhile, 22 bodies were recovered from the Mount Everest base camp after avalanches hit the slopes of the world’s highest peak, the tourism ministry said on Sunday.

The bodies have been brought back to Kathmandu. Avalanches in Everest had killed 13 people in April 2014.

At least 217 tourists have been reported missing, the ministry said.

As many as 32 people were rescued from the base camp and airlifted to Kathmandu, while 29 were admitted to a hospital in Lukla.

Hospitals here struggled to cope with the thousands being rushed for surgery following Saturday’s devastating 7.9 magnitude temblor, the nurses and doctors working non-stop. On Sunday, many were treated out in the open due to lack of beds and space to accommodate the injured.

As the international community rushed assistance to Nepal, the government declared a national calamity. Prime Minister Sushil Koirala made a frantic appeal for blood donation. But even as officials urged people not to go by wild rumours, there was a rush on shops to buy food and essential items.

“Our country is in a moment of crisis,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Minendra Rijal said here. “We have launched a massive rescue and rehabilitation action plan. We will require tremendous support.”

The police headquarters put the latest death toll at over 2,500, including 1,152 who perished in Kathmandu. The number of injured is estimated at nearly 6,000. Many lost their limbs as tonnes of debris collapsed on them.

It is the worst quake to hit Nepal after one in 1934 killed some 8,500 people.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over a high-level meeting in New Delhi to oversee the Indian efforts. “I can understand what the people of Nepal are going through,” he said, recalling his experience with the 2001 Gujarat quake. “My dear brothers and sisters of Nepal, we are with you.”

Thousands of men, women and children spent Saturday night out in the open, facing the prospect of spending another night without shelter. Many lay on plastic sheets or cardboard boxes wrapped in blankets. Most ate instant noodles and cookies to ward off the hunger. The UN said that hospitals were running out of rooms to store bodies and medical supplies.

Indian rescue teams on Sunday reached the epicentre of the devastating earthquake but found that despite extensive damage to property, the number of deaths was fewer than expected. The epicentre lay in Lamjung, about 75 km northwest of Kathmandu.

Defence Secretary R.K. Mathur said in Delhi: “We have rescued 141 people in the area and moved them to hospitals in Kathmandu.”

The Indian Air Force flew back 1,342 Indians from Nepal. It also took food packets, tents, medicines, blankets and medical teams to Nepal. The Indian Army said it planned long-term operations in Nepal.

Army chief General Dalbir Singh, who belongs to Gorkha regiment, told IANS: “There are a large number of ex-servicemen living in Nepal. We are specially concerned… We are sending teams to asses the situation.”

Even as an army of soldiers, police personnel and other officials were frantically engaged in relief work, another powerful temblor occurred on Sunday afternoon, causing aftershocks again in India, Bhutan and Tibet.

Thirty-nine aftershocks have hit Nepal since the first earthquake.

The UN office here said around 6.6 million people have been affected. The quake sparked an avalanche in Mount Everest, killing many mountaineers.

The disaster appeared to spare none, VVIPs included. President Ram Baran Yadav spent Saturday night in a tent after the quake caused several cracks in his office-cum-residence.

The main entrance to the residence of Prime Minister Koirala was damaged. So were several government offices in Kathmandu.

Worse, scores of ancient monuments and Hindu temples were destroyed or suffered varying degrees of damage, with one expert lamenting that some of them can never be restored to their original glory.

The disaster brought down historical monuments such as Dharahara tower in Kathmandu while Basantapur Durbar Square and Patan Durbar Square were also destroyed.

At the Dharahara tower, rescuers found some 80 bodies, officials said.

Modi said: “My dear brothers and sisters of Nepal, we are with you.” He said India had sent rescue teams with sniffer dogs to save people buried in the rubble. “For Indians, Nepal’s plight is our plight. We will wipe the tears of every Nepali, hold their hands and give them support.”

Grieving families on Sunday cremated hundreds near the famed Pashupatinath temple here, overcrowding marking the final rites. Lack of adequate space forced hundreds to perform the last rites outside the designated spots.

“People are conducting the last rites wherever they can and without following the proper rituals,” a witness told IANS. Hindus form 80 percent of Nepal’s 29 million people. Buddhists account for another 10 percent.




Kathmandu, April 26 (IANS) The earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday has killed at least 1,805 people, an official statement said on Sunday.

The earthquake, measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, had its epicentre in Lamjung district, around 75 km northwest of capital Kathmandu.

Following the massive quake, over 50 aftershocks were also felt.

The statement issued by the Nepal home ministry states that the quake has killed 500 people in Kathmandu alone while 164 people, mostly women and children, died in Bhaktapur and 66 in Lalitpur, Kantipur News reported.

The number of casualties may rise, the statement said.

The maximum deaths have been reported in Sindhupalchowk district where 80 people lost their lives.

The quake has killed 70 in Rasuwa, 57 in Kavre, 40 in Gorkha, 35 in Dhading, 10 in Okhaldhunga, nine in Makwanpur, six in Sunsari and two each in Bhojpur and Solukhumbu.

Historical monuments such as Dharhara and Basantapur Durbar Square and Patan Durbar Square have been completely destroyed by the tremors.

In the wake of the disaster, the government has declared national crisis and established a fund of 500 million Nepali rupees (about $4 million) for the reconstruction of the damaged infrastructures.

The tremor also shook India, Tibet, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

At least 36 people — 25 in Bihar, eight in Uttar Pradesh and three in West Bengal — were killed and more than 100 injured in India.

The impact was felt in many states in India, particularly in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal and Delhi.

At least two Indians have died in Nepal.

The powerful earthquake also affected Tibet and led to the death of 17 people and injured 53.



Kathmandu/New Delhi (IANS): Over 1,500 people were killed and thousands were injured when a massive earthquake – lasting about 20 frightening seconds – and several strong aftershocks caused widespread destruction in Nepal. India too was affected.

In Nepal, buildings were flattened, roads cracked, telephone connectivity snapped and hospitals grappled with a large number of injured who were extricated from the rubble after the country was hit by the temblor at 11.41 a.m. India time.

The quake measured 7.9 on the Richter scale. The epicentre was Nepal’s Lamjung district, some 75 km northwest of capital Kathmandu. Over 50 aftershocks were also felt.

According to Nepal’s Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat, at least 1,570 people have died in the disaster.

Citing the Nepal Army, he told reporters that 1,457 bodies have been recovered from various quake-hit sites while 1,055 people were injured.

In Sindhupalchowk district, over 250 were killed.

In Kathmandu alone, 181 people were killed, in Bhaktapur 144, and in Lalitpur district 88. Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur together form Nepal’s capital.

Indian Home Secretary L.C. Goel told the media that 34 people were killed in India. There were 23 dead in Bihar, three were killed in West Bengal while eight people died in Uttar Pradesh.

The tremors were felt across India, right from Srinagar to Kochi, and Jaipur to Guwahati.

At least two Indians have died in Nepal.

“I can confirm only two Indian deaths now — one in the embassy and one in a hospital,” Ambassador Rae said.

Asked about other Indian casualties, he said it was difficult to give exact figures as the phone lines were down and it was tough to contact the proper authorities.

He said the embassy was in touch with some Indians stranded in Muktinath and Jomsom, adding that embassy officials have been dispatched to hotels and hospitals.

The ambassador said that around 250 Indians were being evacuated on Saturday night.

Kathmandu, which is a much sought after tourist destination, bore the brunt of the devastation. People watched in disbelief as a number of its old buildings, including the Dharahara – a nine-storey 19th-century tower – collapsed. There was also damage to the walls surrounding Nepal’s royal palace.

The revered Pashupatinath temple did not appear to have suffered any major damage.

Ten mountaineers were killed at the Mount Everest Base Camp when the temblor triggered an avalanche, an official at the Nepal tourism ministry said.

The earth heaved and panic-stricken people rushed out of their homes and offices.

IANS correspondent Anil Giri, who is based in Kathmandu, spoke of the horror.

He said over 1,000 buildings in Kathmandu have been destroyed, including historical structures. Thousands of people were out in the open. Electricity has been cut-off and wi-fi services are down. Hospitals are packed with the injured and the army is out in full force to help rescue people.

Kathmandu is a warren of tightly packed houses and narrow streets and these were filled with wailing people who panicked further as aftershocks rocked the area.

A young woman, who clutched a blood soaked handkerchief to her forehead, cried and said that she was worried about her family. She said that she did not get the time to safely escape from her home which came crashing down. “I was terrified,” she said at a hospital here.

A former Nepal minister said there had been “massive damage” at the epicentre Lamjung.

Sadbhavana Party chief Rajendra Mahto told IANS that it was difficult to estimate the loss so soon after the disaster but Kathmandu and its neighbourhood had suffered a lot of damage.

“We will need support from neighbours, especially India, and international agencies…,” said Mahto, who was a member of the first Constituent Assembly and a minister in several administrations.

The Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu was indefinitely shut on Saturday, resulting in the cancellation of all the eight subsequent return flights from India bound for the capital city.

The airport, according to aviation officials in Delhi, was opened in the evening, but only for non-commercial and relief operations. Some airlines like SpiceJet said they had been asked by Indian authorities to keep an aircraft ready to lift supplies from here and bring back stranded passengers.

Soon after the quake struck, an IndiGo flight for Nepal, which had left at 11:30 a.m. from New Delhi, had to be recalled and the departures of two others were suspended, official here said. The flight of Nepalese carrier Buddha Air, bound for Varanasi, was among the eight flights that were called off.

The daughter of an employee of the Indian embassy was killed when a building in the embassy complex in Kathmandu collapsed.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promptly directed dispatch of relief and rescue teams, including medical help to Nepal, as well as to the affected areas in India.

He chaired a high-level meeting to review the situation.

Modi spoke to Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, who was abroad, and assured all assistance. He also spoke to the chief ministers of affected states in India like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim and Madhya Pradesh.

A meeting of the Nepal cabinet was held in the evening. It termed the earthquake a national crisis and sought international help.

India has sent two plane loads of relief material and rescue personnel to Nepal. The planes carried 45 rescue personnel and some sniffer dogs to help in rescue operations.

An air force spokesperson said that the Kathmandu airport runway was intact and aircraft could land there. All civilian flights have been cancelled.

Images showed that the quake had left the people of Nepal stunned. Besides capital Kathmandu and Besisahar in Lamjung, the cities which were affected include Bharatpur, Pokhara and Kirtipur.

Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae told IANS that “the old towns in the Kathmandu Valley have been affected in the earthquake”.

Witnesses said this appeared to be “the most massive earthquake to hit central Nepal since 1934”. In that quake, which was of 8.0 magnitude and centred near Mount Everest, more than 10,000 people were reported killed. Kathmandu was all but destroyed.

In India, reports from across north India said people feared for their lives. Some of them began to pray and tried to get as far away as possible from buildings. Most ran to open grounds. Many of the high-rises saw people rush out in large numbers.

“Suddenly people started saying their heads were reeling, fans were shaking. Tables and chairs were shaking. As realisation dawned that it was an earthquake, people made a dash for the exit,” said K. Chakraborty, an employee of a nationalised bank in Kolkata.

In Kochi, an employee said: “Our office is on the seventh floor and close to 12 noon, I felt my pen moving on the table. I felt my chair was moving. I got up and saw my colleagues running.”

According to a Xinhua report from Beijing, the powerful earthquake that struck neighbouring Nepal has killed 12 people and injured many more in Tibet, southwest China.

It killed seven people in the county of Nyalam and five people in the county of Gyirong, authorities said. Both the counties in Xigaze are about 40 km from the epicentre.