Free Press Journal

Nepal PM puts toll at 10,000, says rescue ops not effective


Sushil Koirala

Kathmandu: Rescuers and international aid workers today struggled to reach relief in remote areas of Nepal which is still battling the aftermath of Saturday’s killer earthquake whose death toll has been put at around 10,000 by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. Three days after the 7.9-magnitude temblor flattened their homes and dwellings, desperate people across Nepal looked for succour from helicopters that criss-cross the Himalayan nation as massive international aid, including from India, poured in.

Prime Minister Koirala, who was in Indonesia when the earthquake struck and returned home on Sunday, held an all party meeting in which he said government was sending desperately needed tents, water and food supplies to those in need.

He acknowledged that authorities were over whelmed by appeals for help from remote villages but the administration has been unable to initiate rescue efforts in many areas due to lack of equipment and rescue experts. Koirala told Reuters that the death toll could reach 10,000 because information from the affected remote villages is yet to come. Eight million people have been affected by the devastating earthquake, the United Nations said today.

More than 1.4 million need food, while water and shelter are also in short supply, the UN said in a report. Hundreds of people are still trapped under tonnes of rubble in capital Kathmandu and some of the worst-affected remote mountainous areas.