Nepal Quake Toll Likely To Touch 10,000 : PM Koirala

28 April, Kakhmandu

Prime Minister of Nepal, Sushil Koirala said Tuesday that death toll in Nepal’s earthquake could reach 10,000. He ordered intensified rescue efforts and appealed for foreign supplies of tents and medicines.

Koirala said in an interview to a news agency that government is doing all it can for rescue and relief on a war footing. It is a challenge and a very difficult hour for Nepal, he said.

A Home Ministry official has put the latest death toll at 4,349. If the death toll does reach 10,000, that would be even higher than the 8,500 killed in a massive 1934 quake.

Koirala was abroad when the 7.9 magnitude quake struck Nepal on Saturday. He returned on Sunday. Appealing for foreign assistance, Koirala said Nepal needed tents and medicines. There are more than 7,000 people injured. Their treatment and rehabilitation is going to be a big challenge.

Almost 72 hours after a massive earth-quake rattled Nepal, crisis looms over the Himalayan nation as there is a shortage of food, water, electricity and medicines. Fear drove tens of thousands of people out into the open Monday after fresh tremors were felt in many parts. Hundreds of people are still trapped under tonnes of rubble in capital Kathmandu. The government has announced nine districts as highly-affected areas. It said, altogether 60 districts have been affected by the earthquake.

Multi-nation rescue teams, including from India, are carrying out relief and rescue work. Armed with modern equipment, dumpers and earth removers and aided by sniffer dogs, disaster relief workers are trying to locate possible survivors.

More than 700 disaster relief experts drawn from the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed by India, which has mounted massive relief operations as part of ‘Operation Maitri’. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has rescued 11 individuals, recovered 67 dead bodies and evacuated more than 1000 people in Nepal.

In a series of tweets, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, he spoke to DG NDRF O P Singh this morning who apprised him of the ongoing rescue operations in earthquake affected areas of Nepal. Mr Singh also commended, the NDRF, Indian Army and other forces for doing a remarkable job in Nepal.

Relief material weighing 8,200 kilograms were distributed by choppers and the Indian Air Force. Nepal Army and IAF Helicopters carried out 25 sorties throughout yesterday to rescue people and provide relief material in the quake-affected districts.

India has also sent a team of senior officials from ministries of Home, Defence, External Affairs and National Disaster Management Authority to co-ordinate rescue and relief operations in the quake-ravaged country. The team is monitoring the evacuation of stranded Indians in Nepal.

Nearly 5,400 Indians have been brought back, so far. Briefing media in New Delhi last evening, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar hoped that another 1,600 Indians will be brought back soon. He said, India is also receiving requests from other countries and 30 foreign nationals have been rescued until now.

The Foreign Secretary also said that a power grid team is working with Nepal Electricity Authority to restore the power in Kathmandu. He said it has also been decided to send more National Disaster response Force teams. The National Disaster Management Authority has launched a national helpline 011-1078 to help the people affected due to the natural calamity.

Fresh tremors were also felt in India in the states of Bihar, Assam and West Bengal last evening. The tremors were measuring at 5.1 on the Richter Scale. According to the head of the Meteorological Department of Sikkim, its epicenter was located on the Nepal-India border area.

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