The Latest on Nepal Quake: Aid Arriving as Deaths Top 4,000

Basic necessities are the immediate need in Nepal after Saturday\'s devastating earthquake.

Published: 27th April 2015 09:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th April 2015 12:57 AM   |  A+A-

Nepal-earthquake-latest-news
By AP

WASHINGTON — 12:05 a.m. (1820 GMT, 14:20 EDT)

The State Department says at least four Americans have died in Nepal's earthquake.

Spokesman Jeff Rathke says all of the U.S. citizens were killed at the Mount Everest base camp.

He identified two of them as Thomas Ely Taplin and Vinh B. Truong.

The other two haven't been named yet, either because consular officials haven't confirmed their identities or their next of kin have not been notified.

The official death toll from the disaster has soared past 4,000 people, though that number is expected to climb significantly.

___

10:55 p.m. (1710 GMT, 13:10 EDT)

The United Nations says it is releasing $15 million from its central emergency response fund to help earthquake victims in Nepal.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters Monday that the funds would allow international humanitarian groups to scale up operations and provide shelter, water and medical supplies, and logistical services.

He said food trucks are on the way to affected districts outside the Kathmandu valley, and distribution of the food is expected to start Tuesday.

Citing government figures, Haq said an estimated 8 million people have been affected by the quake in 39 ofNepal's districts, and more than 1.4 million need food assistance, including 750,000 who live near the quake's epicenter in poor quality housing.

Haq said the U.N. humanitarian country team for Nepal is coordinating international relief efforts with the government and a clearer picture of needs is expected in the next 48 hours. He said the immediate priority will be search and rescue and debris removal to find and save people.

___

10:15 p.m. (1630 GMT, 12:30 EDT)

The U.S. Agency for International Development is contributing $10 million in assistance for the Nepalearthquake response and recovery efforts.

A statement from USAID on Monday says the money will be used to address immediate, life-saving priorities, including search and rescue efforts, emergency shelters and clean water.

___

10 p.m. (1615 GMT, 12:15 p.m. EDT)

The Pentagon says two teams of U.S. Army Green Beret soldiers happened to be in Nepal when the deadly earthquake struck Saturday and are staying to help with search and relief efforts.

A Pentagon spokesman, Col. Steve Warren, says the 26 U.S. soldiers were in Nepal for high-altitude and other training with the Nepalese army. The 11-person crew of a C-130 cargo plane that brought them to Nepal also is remaining in case of a request to evacuate any American citizens.

In addition, Warren says that a second U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo plane carrying members of a Los Angeles urban search and rescue team is due to arrive in Nepal on Tuesday.

___

10 p.m. (1615 GMT, 12:15 p.m. EDT)

Oscar-winning director Bernardo Bertolucci says he "wanted to cry" when he saw the ruins of cities where he shot his 1993 film "Little Buddha."

Bertolucci said "I have tried in vain to recognize the places of my memory in the images of the ruins shown on television." He also expressed "great pain for the thousands of victims."

Bertolucci told the Italian daily La Repubblica in a story published Monday that his film crew had added its own structure as a set in Bhaktapur, where he filmed scenes about the prince Siddhartha before he became Buddha. The Nepalese wanted it preserved, so they left it standing.

"Now in the ruins of a city so ancient, there are mixed also the ruins of cinema, that we brought," Bertolucci said.

9:45 p.m. (1600 GMT, noon EDT)

The World Food Programme is sending food and aid supplies to Nepal to help people affected by Saturday's earthquake.

It says logistics and emergency response teams are already working in the country.

One of their crucial supplies is high-energy biscuits, which are often sent in the first stage of an emergency because the food items are small, easy to transport and do not require cooking. A charter flight carrying biscuits from a depot in Dubai is scheduled Tuesday.

                              >>Related: 38 Indian Cities in High Risk Earthquakes Zones 

9.30 p.m.

Another Tremor Strikes at Nepal’s Capital Kathmandu, People evacuate buildings again.

9:15 p.m. (1530 GMT, 11:30 a.m.)

Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh says she and partner Jean Todt are "blessed" to be home safe in Paris after evacuating their hotel during the earthquake in Nepal on Saturday.

The "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" star says while they are home, their hearts are in Nepal and she thanked friends for keeping them safe. Todt heads the FIA motorsports organization.

In a statement provided to AP, Yeoh wrote Monday that they were in a ground-floor showroom when the quake struck. "We were thrown off our feet." Security personnel rushed people into the open, and they stayed outdoors for hours as aftershocks continued.

She said the tensest moment was when they briefly went back into their damaged hotel to retrieve their passports.

"We spent the night at airport, feeling the aftershocks throughout the night ... awaiting the possibility of a flight home like many others."

___

9 p.m. (1515 GMT, 11:15 a.m. EDT)

Relief worker Brad Kerner of Save the Children says basic necessities are the immediate need in Nepal after Saturday's devastating earthquake, which killed more than 4,000 people. He also says waterborne and infectious diseases are a risk because people are living outdoors in crowded, camp-like situations.

Kerner says, "A lot of people are sleeping outside, so they are all homeless in a way. The longer people stay out of homes, and live in camps" clean water practices will fall short.

Save the Children was getting in medical teams. Kerner said: "We are making sure there is shelter, food and water available. We're handing out baby kits with blankets, soap, and other necessities for newborns, who are the most vulnerable in such situations."

               >>Related: Modern tragedy: Quake-ravaged Nepal Tower a Site for Selfies

___

8:45 p.m. (1500 GMT, 11 a.m.)

Help was pouring into Nepal from across the world, as countries big and small sent in medical and rescue teams to provide disaster relief.

A Nepal army spokesman says rescue workers and medical teams from at least a dozen countries were in Nepal helping local police and army rescuers.

Maj. Gen. Binod Basnyat said the teams were in different places in Kathmandu and surrounding areas. India has sent the biggest team with six helicopters and seven trucks. Seven Indian search and rescue teams and another seven medical teams were at work Monday in the worst-hit areas. They had rescued 10 people and recovered 40 bodies from the rubble of fallen buildings in different parts of Kathmandu.

China has sent a medical team and a team of experts to move through structures destroyed in the quake and help with search and rescue operations. Chinese doctors have set up a field hospital at the mountain resort town of Dhulikhel, 30 kilometers (18 miles) east of Kathmandu.

Even Nepal's tiny Himalayan neighbor, Bhutan, has sent a medical team to help the survivors of the quake.

Medical and rescue teams from Russia, Japan, France, Switzerland and Singapore were expected to arrive in Kathmandu over the next couple of days, the army said.

— Binaj Gurubacharya, Kathmandu, Nepal

___

8:30 p.m. (1445 GMT, 10:45 a.m.)

The death toll from Saturday's earthquake in South Asia has surpassed 4,000 people.

Nepal police say on their Facebook page late Monday evening that 3,904 deaths had been counted in Nepaland 7,180 people were injured.

In addition, an avalanche caused by the earthquake Saturday killed 18 people at Mount Everest's base camp, 61 people were killed in neighboring India, and China reported 25 people died in Tibet.

The toll is expected to rise as assessments are made in vulnerable mountain villages that have been inaccessible since the quake.

___

8 p.m. (1415 GMT, 10:15 a.m.)

Traffic jams happen all the time on the narrow, two-lane road heading north from Nepal's capital of Kathmandu into the Gorkha district. Small landslides and impatient drivers regularly combine to stop transportation, sometimes for hours.

When it happens, drivers mingle, owners of little stalls sell potato chips and drinks, and everyone waits. And waits.

Two days after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, the situation was critical, and the road was, like so much else inNepal, a scene of chaos. Hundreds of heavy trucks, buses and cars stood still. Those waiting included rescue workers and trucks bringing food and supplies for the injured and homeless in Gorkha, the epicenter of Saturday's quake.

"This traffic jam, it is nothing new," said Uma Shankar Prasad, a 32-year-old Indian construction worker heading back home because he was terrified that more earthquakes could happen. "Traffic jams happen all the time. I'll wait as long as it takes."

The jam, though, made room for no one.

As darkness fell Monday evening, the traffic showed no sign of moving.

— Katy Daigle, New Delhi

___

7:30 p.m. (1345 GMT, 9:45 a.m.)

An engineer who works on earthquake risks says the 7.8-magnitude temblor that struck on Saturday may not be the Big One for Nepal.

GeoHazards International's Hari Kumar says: "We were expecting an 8-magnitude to happen along the Himalayas, this is not it."

Kumar is the Southeast Asia regional coordinator for the non-profit group that works on assessing and managing quake risks worldwide.

Immense seismic pressure is still building up along the Nepal-India border, and he says, "The stress which was developing west of this earthquake has not been released."

Nepal's worst recorded earthquake was an 8.0-magnitude temblor in 1934 that all but destroyed the cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan.

Kumar said he hoped Nepal would be able to look beyond the horror and see a chance to rebuild properly. "For Kathmandu, this is their moment of change. I know it is a tragic time, many of their buildings are (fallen) down, but I think this is their time to turn it around."

— Archana Thiyagarajan, New Delhi

___

Related stories

7:15 p.m. (1330 GMT, 9:30 a.m.)

World Vision aid worker Matt Darvas reached Nepal's Gorkha district, the epicenter of Saturday's powerful quake, early Monday afternoon. He said almost no aid had reached there ahead of him.

He told the AP by telephone: "It does not seem aid is reaching here very quickly."

Landslides and other destruction delayed attempts to reach the district earlier, but Gorkha is feared to have extensive damage.

Darvas says most of the newer concrete buildings were intact after the quake but remote mountainside villages were reportedly devastated.

He says, "Further north from here the reports are very disturbing." He says up to 75 percent of the buildings in Singla may have collapsed and the village, a two-days walk away, has been out of contact since Saturday night.

Local officials lost contact with military and police who set out for Singla, and Darvas says helicopters have had to turn back because of clouds.

He says a few SUVs with foreign tourists bringing basic aid supplies had begun to reach Gorkha by early evening.

— Muneeza Naqvi, New Delhi

___

6:15 p.m. (1230 GMT, 8:30 a.m.)

Chaos has reigned at Kathmandu's small airport since the earthquake, with the onslaught of relief flights causing major backups on the tarmac.

Sitanshu Kar, India's defense ministry spokesman, tweeted that four Indian air force aircraft carrying communication gear, aid supplies and rescue personnel were forced to return to New Delhi on Monday because of airport congestion.

India was planning to resend the two C-17 Globemasters, one C-130 Hercules and one Ilyushin IL-76 back toNepal later Monday night, when the situation was expected to have eased.

Nepal's government says the needs of its people are acute, with 3,700 dead and the toll expected to rise. Also, more than 6,300 people are injured, and tens of thousands lost homes.

— Ashok Sharma, New Delhi.

___

5:45 p.m. (1200 GMT, 8 a.m.)

All mountaineering on the Chinese side of Mount Everest was cancelled after Saturday's earthquake.

China's official Xinhua News Agency says more than 400 climbers from 20-plus countries were on the northern side of the world's highest mountain and were reported safe after they descended to lower elevations.

Xinhua quoted an official with the Tibetan bureau of sports as saying that an avalanche at 7,000 meters (23,000 feet) and the possibility of further aftershocks was considered to have made climbing too dangerous. There was no word on when the ban would be lifted.

The Chinese side of Everest is less popular with climbers, in part because a special permit is required to enter Tibet. But it is an alternative to the heavily trafficked Nepalese side, and it is growing popular especially with Chinese climbers.

— Christopher Bodeen, Beijing

__

4:45 p.m. (1100 GMT, 7 a.m.)

Doctors Without Borders is sending eight teams to provide medical aid and other relief in Nepal after Saturday's earthquake.

The group says four of the teams were trying to crossing the border from India's Bihar state, a team from New Delhi is heading to Kathmandu and a team from Japan is heading to the Kathmandu Valley.

A team of eight staff with surgical skills left Brussels and will set up a surgery unit as well as run mobile clinics. And a team from Amsterdam is departing Monday with medical, water and sanitation relief.

The government says more than 6,300 people were injured in the quake and Nepal is short of medical staff, medicine and rescue helicopters to transport the injured.

__

3.45 p.m. (1000 GMT, 6 a.m.)

Lila Mani Poudyal, the government's chief secretary and the rescue coordinator, appealed for more help from the international community, saying Nepal was short of everything from paramedics to electricity.

"We are appealing for tents, dry goods, blankets, mattresses, and 80 different medicines ... that we desperately need now," he told reporters. "We don't have the helicopters that we need or the expertise to rescue the people trapped."

Once people are pulled from the wreckage, he noted, even more help is needed, especially orthopedic doctors, nerve specialists, anesthetists, surgeons and paramedics. "We are appealing to foreign government to send these specialized and smart teams."

The recovery situation was also being slowed because many workers — water tanker drivers, electricity company employees, laborers to clear debris — have "all gone to their families and (are) staying with them, refusing to work."

— Binaj Gurubacharya, Kathmandu, Nepal

__

3.30 p.m. (0945 GMT, 5:45 a.m.)

The French foreign minister says two French citizens have been confirmed dead.

Laurent Fabius said in a statement broadcast on French TV BFM that the two victims were killed in a landslide triggered by the quake.

Fabius said authorities have located 1,400 French people in Nepal and are still trying to contact 676 others. Ten French citizens are known to have been injured.

__

2.30 p.m. (0845 GMT, 4:45 a.m.)

A respected consultancy says the long-term cost of reconstruction after Saturday's earthquake could be more than $5 billion, or about 20 percent of Nepal's GDP.

Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific Chief Economist for the Colorado-based consultancy services IHS, says Nepal has extremely limited capacity to finance relief efforts and reconstruction from its own resources.

"The total long-term cost of reconstruction in Nepal using appropriate building standards for regions vulnerable to severe earthquakes could exceed $5 billion, which is around 20 percent of Nepal's GDP," he says.

Nepal's annual per capita GDP is only $1,000, and the average family lives in poverty.

"Massive international disaster relief and rescue efforts will be needed urgently, as well as large-scale international financial and technical assistance for long-term reconstruction of the economy," says Biswas.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

facebook twitter whatsapp