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Strong aftershocks add to misery for Nepal quake victims


Nepal

Strong aftershocks add to misery for Nepal quake victims

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  • Death toll now more than 2,200, with scores injured
  • Strong aftershocks cause panic and further damage
  • New avalanche strikes Mt. Everest, where at least 17 died
  • Offers of help pour in from around the world

Death toll rises by the minute

Strong aftershocks continue to hit Nepal, with one measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale, causing further panic and devastation.

A new avalanche was also triggered near Mount Everest.

The number of dead continues to rise by the minute after Saturday’s 7.9 magnitude quake, amid frantic searches for survivors among the rubble.

The latest official death toll is now more than 2,200, but many remote areas close to the epicentre have still not been reached.

Hospitals and clinics are overwhelmed with the scores of people arriving with serious injuries.

Many buildings and landmarks destroyed

The strongest earthquake to hit Nepal in 80 years devastated the Kathmandu valley.

It caused many buildings and landmarks to collapse, and triggered a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest. At least 17 were killed at the base camp.

Local authorities are struggling to cope with the aftermath, with reports of many rescuers being forced to dig with their bare hands.

The historic Dharahara Tower in Nepal’s capital has been reduced to a stump. Built in 1832, what was a 14-storey structure is now unrecognisable.

Nepal’s worst earthquake in 1934 killed more than 8,500 people.

Fears of further strong quakes

Many residents have also been forced to spend the night on the streets, with so many homes destroyed.

In Kathmandu, residents bedded down in make-shift outdoor shelters.

Afraid to return home, people preferred to brave the freezing temperatures.

“We are hearing rumours that other bigger earthquakes are expected to happen. We are sleeping here, so we can stay safe and quickly run to safety if needed,” explained Rabindra Shresth, a local resident displaced by the earthquake.

An untold number of people have been injured.

With many people still trapped under rubble, there are fears the death toll will climb.

The quake also triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing at least 18 people as it swept through a base camp for climbers.

Thirty-six fatalities were reported in India, which is now coordinating a disaster response to help neighbouring Nepal.

International offers of help for Nepal

Offers of help for Nepal are coming in from around the world.

Rescue teams in Los Angeles were preparing to leave for Kathmandu with specialist equipment.

It is a race against the clock to reach those who may still be alive beneath the rubble.

Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief John Tripp told reporters: “Our main mission – and we’re committed to this mission because we live in earthquake country – is that we find people in collapsed buildings and we try to rescue them, and then lend aid to them.”

Rescue teams from China have also left Beijing bound for Nepal.

They are taking specialist equipment, as well as sniffer dogs trained in finding survivors.

Checks for casualties and damage continue to be carried out in neighbouring countries, including China, India and Bangladesh, which also felt the quake and aftershocks.

India’s Foreign Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, said: “Once we have a damage assessment, which we hope to have done overnight, by tomorrow our endeavour would be to have five helicopters positioned in Kathmandu and five helicopters positioned in Pokhara.

“Their role would be to do the local rescue, to do airlifting if they have to and to do food distribution locally.”

The US is providing one million dollars in immediate assistance to Nepal, and China is also sending an emergency team.

International aid groups are rushing to reach victims in rural villages after communications were cut off by the quake.

Google has launched a People Finder search for those looking to check on loved ones.


News about foreigners in Nepal

The Reuters news agency put together the following list of details released by some foreign governments on citizens who found themselves in Nepal at the time of the quake.

This is a busy time of the year for the tourism-reliant country’s trekking and climbing season, with an estimated 300,000 foreign tourists in the country.

- AUSTRALIA: 549 Australians registered as travelling in Nepal, 200 confirmed safe. No reports of Australian deaths.

- AUSTRIA: Around 250 Austrians in Nepal, no reports of any casualties.

- BANGLADESH: No Bangladeshis in Nepal been reported injured or killed. But four people reported killed inside Bangladesh.

- BRITAIN: No details released yet.

- BELGIUM: No reports of any victims.

- CHINA: Xinhua news agency, quoting the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, reports four people confirmed dead and 10 seriously injured.

- CROATIA: Four tourists, all accounted for.

- CZECH REPUBLIC: 155 nationals in Nepal, 54 have not yet been contacted.

- FRANCE: Around 500 French nationals located and confirmed safe, no reports of any deaths or injuries.

- GERMANY: No details released yet.

- GREECE: Two Greek nationals safe.

- INDIA: Five Indians killed in Nepal, and another 66 in Indian regions over the border. So far, 1,137 Indians evacuated from Nepal.

- INDONESIA: Thirty-four nationals in Nepal, 18 of them resident. Eighteen have not yet been contacted.

- ISRAEL: About 600 Israelis estimated to be in Nepal. About 400 have been contacted, most of them sheltering at the embassy in Kathmandu. These include 25 couples in Nepal to bring home babies born to surrogate mothers.

- ITALY: More than 300 Italians in Nepal have been traced, others not yet contacted.

- JAPAN: No reports of Japanese killed or injured, though checks are still under way. Some 1,100 Japanese living in Nepal are registered with the embassy, but no information on number of nationals travelling through.

- LATVIA: Local news agencies report around 41 people from Latvia in Nepal at the moment. Four are missing.

- LITHUANIA: 25 Lithuanian nationals registered in Nepal are safe, no news on unregistered travellers.

- MALAYSIA: All Malaysians in Nepal are accounted for and safe, including a team of Malaysian climbers at Everest base camp.

- NORWAY: About 150 nationals in Nepal, no reports of any dead or injured.

- PAKISTAN: No information on exact number of nationals in Nepal, up to 15 have asked to be evacuated.

- PHILIPPINES: Two Filipino climbers are reported safe.

- POLAND: No news on any Poles affected.

- PORTUGAL: All seven Portuguese known to be in Nepal are safe.

- ROMANIA: Nineteen Romanians in Nepal, including mountaineer Alex Gavan and three others, all reported to be safe.

- RUSSIA: Tass news agency, citing Emergencies Ministry, says no casualties among Russians.

- SINGAPORE: No reports of any casualties.

- SOUTH KOREA: Three nationals injured in the earthquake. 650 residents and as many as 1,000 travellers are estimated to have been in Nepal.

- SWEDEN: Around 40 Swedes known to be in Nepal, no reports of casualties.

- UNITED STATES: Three Americans killed.

By Seamus Kearney and Joanna Gill.

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