Quake-aid need acute in cap­i­tal, vil­lages

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE -

Shel­ter, fuel, food, medicine, power, news, work­ers — Nepal’s earth­quake-hit cap­i­tal was short on ev­ery­thing Mon­day as its peo­ple searched for lost loved ones, sorted through rub­ble for their be­long­ings and strug­gled to pro­vide for their fam­i­lies’ needs. In much of the coun­try­side, it was worse, though how much worse was only be­gin­ning to be­come ap­par­ent.

The death toll soared past 4,000, even with­out a full ac­count­ing from vul­ner­a­ble moun­tain vil­lages that res­cue work­ers were still strug­gling to reach two days af­ter the dis­as­ter.

Udav Prashad Ti­malsina, the top of­fi­cial for the Gorkha dis­trict, where Satur­day’s mag­ni­tude 7.8 quake was cen­tered, said he was in des­per­ate need of help.

Aid group World Vi­sion said its staff mem­bers were able to reach Gorkha, but gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion from the vil­lages re­mained a chal­lenge. Even when roads are clear, the group said, some re­mote ar­eas can be three days’ walk from Gorkha’s main dis­as­ter cen­ter.

Some roads and trails have been blocked by land­slides, the group said in an email to The As­so­ci­ated Press. “In those vil­lages that have been reached, the im­me­di­ate needs are great in­clud­ing the need for search and res­cue, food items, blan­kets and tarps, and med­i­cal treat­ment.”

Ti­malsina said 223 peo­ple had been con­firmed dead in Gorkha dis­trict but he pre­sumed “the num­ber would go up be­cause there are thou­sands who are in­jured.” He said his dis­trict had not re­ceived enough help from the cen­tral gov­ern­ment, but Jagdish Pokhrel, the clearly ex­hausted army spokesman, said nearly the en­tire 100,000-sol­dier army was in­volved in res­cue op­er­a­tions.

He said the re­cov­ery was also be­ing slowed be­cause many work­ers — wa­ter tanker driv­ers, elec­tric­ity com­pany em­ploy­ees and la­bor­ers needed to clear de­bris — “are all gone to their fam­i­lies and stay­ing with them, re­fus­ing to work.”

As peo­ple are pulled from the wreck­age, he noted, even more help is needed. “Now we es­pe­cially need or­tho­pe­dic (doc­tors), nerve spe­cial­ists, anes­thetists, sur­geons and paramedics,” he said. “We are ap­peal­ing to for­eign gov­ern­ments to send th­ese spe­cial­ized and smart teams.”

More than 6,300 peo­ple were in­jured in the quake, he said, es­ti­mat­ing that tens of thou­sands of peo­ple had been left home­less. “We have been un­der se­vere stress and pres­sure, and have not been able to reach the peo­ple who need help on time,” he said.

Nepal po­lice said in a state­ment that the coun­try’s death toll had risen to 4,000 peo­ple. That does not in­clude the 18 peo­ple killed in the avalanche, which were counted by the moun­taineer­ing as­so­ci­a­tion. An­other 61 peo­ple were killed in neigh­bor­ing In­dia, and China re­ported 20 peo­ple dead in Ti­bet.

Global Helps Pours in

The U. N. food agency said Mon­day it was pre­par­ing a largescale aid op­er­a­tion to earth­quak­er­av­aged Nepal, with a first plane set to ar­rive Tues­day.

The United Na­tions is gear­ing up to launch an emer­gency ap­peal for aid for the re­gion.

WFP ex­perts ar­rived in Kathmandu on Sun­day to eval­u­ate the needs, and the agency es­ti­mates shel­ter and med­i­cal equip­ment should be the first pri­or­ity.

The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion said Mon­day it had al­ready dis­trib­uted med­i­cal sup­plies to cover the health needs of more than 40,000 peo­ple for three months in the coun­try.

But with food also ex­pected to quickly run scarce, the U.N. agency has “mo­bi­lized all of our food stocks in the re­gion,” Byrs said.

WFP is load­ing a plane with ra­tions of food that does not re­quire cooking in Dubai, and Byrs said it would likely ar­rive in Nepal Tues­day.

WFP ex­perts are mean­while pour­ing over satel­lite images to es­ti­mate how many peo­ple have been af­fected by the dis­as­ter, Byrs said.

She said the worst-hit area was in “an agri­cul­tural zone that is home to be­tween two and three mil­lion peo­ple.”

UNICEF cau­tioned that the thou­sands of chil­dren camp­ing out in the open in the cap­i­tal Kathmandu were par­tic­u­larly at risk of dis­ease.

UNICEF said it was mo­bi­liz­ing staff and send­ing two cargo flights with 120 tonnes of hu­man­i­tar­ian sup­plies, in­clud­ing med­i­cal and hos­pi­tal sup­plies, tents and blan­kets.

The Asian Devel­op­ment Bank an­nounced a US$ 3 mil­lion (NT$91.73 mil­lion) grant to Nepal Mon­day to help pro­vide des­per­ately needed tents, medicine, food and wa­ter.

Spain’s gov­ern­ment planned to send a char­tered jet to Nepal loaded with tons of do­nated aid from the gov­ern­ment and char­i­ties, in­clud­ing ma­te­rial to build wa­ter stor­age dis­tri­bu­tion points and la­trines, tarps for shel­ters plus blan­kets and cooking sets for more than 500 fam­i­lies.

Mar­i­ona Minet of Spain’s Ox­fam Intermon said many peo­ple are still fright­ened and sleep­ing on the streets, in part be­cause of af­ter­shocks.

A Bri­tish Royal Air Force plane loaded with aid was also ex­pected to ar­rive in Nepal Mon­day.

AP

AP AP AP

1. In this photo pro­vided by World Vi­sion, houses lie de­stroyed by Satur­day’s earth­quake at Paslang vil­lage in Gorkha mu­nic­i­pal­ity, Nepal on Mon­day, April 27. 2. An In­dian Air Force mem­ber walks car­ry­ing a Nepalese child wounded in Satur­day’s earth­quake to a wait­ing am­bu­lance as the mother rushes to join af­ter they were evac­u­ated from a re­mote area at the air­port in Kathmandu, Nepal on Mon­day. 3. In this photo pro­vided by Azim Afif, a he­li­copter pre­pares to res­cue peo­ple from camp 1 and 2 at Ever­est Base Camp, Nepal on Mon­day. 4. In­dian res­i­dents rest and sleep in a soc­cer field in Silig­uri on Sun­day, April 26.

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