Free Press Journal

4 fresh tremors felt in Nepal as toll nears 8,000


medical aid, Nepal, Earthquake

Kathmandu: Four fresh tremors jolted Nepal today, triggering panic among the people still reeling under the impact of the devastating earthquake that has claimed nearly 8,000 lives as the UN expressed concern over the meagre international contribution that poured in so far. Mild aftershocks continued to rock Nepal two weeks after the powerful April 25 temblor, with four measuring over 4 on the Richter scale recorded from early morning till 2 pm today and almost all centred around the battered district of Sindhupalchowk.

The last tremor of 4.6-magnitude struck at 1.32 pm with its epicentre at Sindhupalchwok. A tremor of 5-magnitude occurred at 6.17 am with its epicentre Dolakha and Sindhupalchowk border, east of Kathmandu. Another tremor of 4.2-magnitude was felt at 8.19 am with its epicentre at Sindhupalchowk, according to Ratnamani Gupta of the National Seismological Centre (NSC).

A 4-magnitude tremor was also felt at 2.19 AM this morning with the epicentre at Sindhupalchowk district. However, no damage was reported from the tremors so far. About 150 aftershocks measuring 4 or more on the Richter scale have been reported after the country’s worst earthquake in 80 years.

The death toll from the devastating earthquake has reached 7,903, while the number of the people sustaining injuries in the quake has been put at 17,803, according to Nepal police. Sindhupalchowk is the worst-hit district with nearly 3,000 people dead while 1,209 have been killed in Kathmandu. Nepalese security agencies also rescued 35 Nepalese and 11 Chinese nationals from different areas of the quake-hit country today.

Eleven Chinese workers were airlifted from Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Station at Dolakha district while seven men, one injured woman and two children were rescued from Dolakha.

Similarly, 19 people have been airlifted from Dhading and six from Dolakha by helicopter, according to Nepal Police. The United Nations today said that it had received just over five per cent of its appeal amount of USD 415 million for quake-hit Nepal and asked the international community to “dramatically ramp up” their contributions.

“The relief needs remain great and we urgently need funds to be able to continue our work. Of the requested USD 415 million to support immediate humanitarian interventions, only USD 22.4 million was received. This needs to be dramatically ramped up,” said Jamie Goldrick, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nepal.

Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy here strongly refuted a media report in a national daily that said all the rescue and relief operations carried out by the Indian Air Force were not done in coordination with Nepal authorities.

“The fact of the matter is that the Indian military aircrafts are operating in full coordination and consultation with the Nepalese Army. A Liaison Officer of the Nepalese Army accompanies each flight,” the Indian Embassy spokesperson said. “All Indian Air Force flights take place in accordance with the decision of the Nepalese Army. Indian Air Force and Army do not have any direct linkage with Chief District Officers and District Authorities,” the spokesperson added.

Indian helicopters carry relief material of various countries including India, handed over by the Nepalese Army, the Embassy stated. “So, the presumption in the news report that the Indian helicopters are carrying relief material without coordinating with the Nepalese authorities is completely baseless,” it said.

Hundreds flee rumbling Philippines volcano, typhoon

Sorsogon (Philippines) May 8 (AFP) Hundreds of people fled their homes on the slopes of a rumbling Philippine volcano today as authorities warned of rain-driven mudflows from an approaching typhoon that could bury them alive. Around 500 residents of farming villages around Bulusan volcano, many of them children and elderly women, boarded army trucks clutching sleeping mats and bags of clothes as Typhoon Noul bore down on the area.

“I have no choice but to evacuate. I may not be strong enough to outrun the mud flows,” 66-year-old housewife Dolores Guela said.

Officials said she and her meningitis-stricken nine-year-old granddaughter would be among about 1,000 people taken to temporary shelters to wait out the wrath of Noul, which was forecast to bring heavy rains in the region from late Friday.

The typhoon was gusting at up to 185 kph and experts warned debris from two recent ash explosions could rumble down the slopes of the 1,559-metre volcano. State vulcanologists subsequently raised Alert level 1 — the lowest in a five-step warning system — on Bulusan.

Minor ash explosions alone would not normally prompt an evacuation, but authorities ordered one nonetheless because of the threat of mud flows from the approaching storm. Bulusan, on the southeastern tip of the main island of Luzon, is about 400 kilometres south of the capital, Manila. It is among the country’s 23 active volcanoes.

Noul would be the fourth major storm or typhoon to hit the Philippines this year. The disaster-prone nation is lashed by an average of 20 each year, routinely killing hundreds of people.