Nepal Quake: Death-toll Hits 6,260
Nepal: The death toll from the mammoth quake climbed to 6,260 including those who died in an avalanche on Mount Everest, plus more than 60 elsewhere in the region. The city got a lift Thursday when two survivors, including a 15-year-old boy, were rescued after being buried in debris for five days.
As rescue workers continued to comb the rubble in the city for survivors, the government said it was handing out the equivalent of $1,000 US to families for each victim killed in Saturday's earthquake, and another $400 for funeral costs, according to state-run Nepal Radio.
Although poorer sections of the city remained strewn with collapsed buildings, there were visibly fewer tents standing in a central part of Kathmandu that had been packed with people in the first few days after the magnitude 7.8 quake hit amid repeated aftershocks.
Krishna Maharjan, a farmer on the outskirts, brought green onions and cauliflower on his bicycle into the city.
"We are trying to get as much fresh food to the people as possible," he said. "I feel it is our small contribution. But that's what we can do and every little bit helps."
More than 130,000 houses are reportedly destroyed, according to the UN humanitarian office. Its chief, Valerie Amos, landed in Nepal for a three-day visit to meet victims and local leaders. She plans to visit areas outside the Kathmandu Valley, according to the deputy spokesman for the UN secretary-general, Farhan Haq.
Earthquake survivors board an Indian helicopter to be evacuated from their village, at Sirdibas Village, in Gorkha on Friday. (Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters)
"Inaccessibility to some remote areas, the lack of helicopters, poor communication and security concerns remain the main challenges in delivering relief," Haq said. In the past 48 hours, the UN Children's Fund, or UNICEF, has delivered nearly 30 tonnes of supplies, including tents, water purification tablets, and first aid and hygiene kits.
Rescuers are moving into the country's more remote villages as quickly as they can, but face an incredible task, reporters said.
"There are thousands and thousands of people expected to be found dead in those areas," he said.
The World Health Organization said a quick assessment of Nepal's worst-hit districts has found some hospitals damaged or destroyed but most are coping well with no extra staff or beds required. However, they are in need of essential medicines, equipment and materials.
The WHO says the Nepalese health system took measures to prepare for such emergencies.
The agency says it is focused on preventing the possible spread of diarrhoeal diseases among at least 2.8 million displaced people, especially those living in 16 makeshift camps in Kathmandu. So far, the number of cases has not exceeded expectations and no camps have reported an increase in disease or any outbreaks.
A group of Nepal's Gurkhas serving the British army have rushed back home to help their quake-hit countrymen get some clean drinking water. The soldiers from the Queen's Gurkha Engineers Unit on Thursday set up a portable water purification unit on the Kathmandu grounds of the old royal palace.
"I am just glad I could serve my countrymen when they really needed something so necessary like clean drinking water," said Corporal Bhesh Gurung, 34. "I have been away for 13 years serving in a foreign land and finally I can do something for my motherland."
Gurung and his fellow Gurkha soldiers, helped by some Nepalese soldiers, are pumping ground water, filtering it in a purification unit and storing it in a 5,000-litre tank.
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