3 survivors found in Nepal as earthquake toll reaches 7,056

By: | Updated: May 4, 2015 12:26 PM

Two men and a woman were pulled out alive from under the rubble of their homes in Nepal, eight days after the devastating earthquake hit the country.

nepal earthquakeIndian Army with Nepal security forces during rescue operations in Barpak on Sunday. (PTI)

In a miraculous rescue, two men and a woman were today pulled out alive from under the rubble of their homes in Nepal, eight days after the devastating quake hit the country, killing 7,056 people including 38 Indians and the death toll is likely to go ‘much higher’.

Rescuers, who have been sifting through mounds of rubble in the Himalayan nation for any more survivors, pulled out two men and a woman from near the mountainous Syauli village, official Surya Prasad Upadhaya said.

They have been taken to a nearby military hospital for treatment but other details were not immediately known.

The district – located about 60 kilometres west from here – is the worst hit by the 7.9-magnitude temblor with the highest number of casualties.

At least 7,056 people have been confirmed dead from the April 25 quake while the number of injured has reached 14,227, making the temblor the country’s worst in over eight decades.

However, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat said the death toll is expected to climb “much higher”.

“The aftershocks have not receded, and we expect the final casualty numbers to climb much higher,” Mahat said.

At least 38 Indians are among 54 foreigners killed in the quake that left a trail of devastation and suffering.

Police said 48 foreigners, including 10 Indians, were injured and 82 foreign nationals missing.

As many as 51 bodies, including of six foreigners, in the popular Langtang trekking region have been pulled out by police, a report said.

“We estimate that about 100 foreigners might still be missing in the area,” the report quoted Uddav Prasad Bhattarai, chief officer of Rasuwa district, as saying.

A report released by the United Nation’s humanitarian agency OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) said the number of houses destroyed in the country is over 1,60,000, nearly twice the number of households wrecked in the 1934’s deadly temblor that has been the country’s worst disaster of all times.

The UN urged Nepal to relax customs controls which it says are holding up deliveries of aid to the survivors.

Nepal had a duty to provide faster customs clearance for relief supplies, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said.

Amos, and the European Union’s Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides called on Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and reaffirmed the commitment of the international community to support the country in this time of crisis.

“A disaster of such magnitude would test the capacities of any government in the world,” said Stylianides.

Meanwhile, fresh aftershocks, including one measuring 4.3 on the Richter Scale, kept people on edge as they rushed for open spaces in panic.

Officials said an entire village was carried away by the avalanche and many more people are believed to have died.

The country’s only main airport the Tribhuvan International Airport has been closed for large aircraft due to runway damage that forced authorities to take such a step in the middle of the calamity.

The runway was built to handle only medium-size jetliners, not the large military and cargo planes that have been flying emergency supplies to Nepal, said manager of the airport Birendra Shrestha.

Foreign help has poured in the country that has seen widespread destruction due to the temblor that flattened buildings and uprooted electric poles and trees.

Twelve stranded trekkers, including an Indian national, were rescued today from Makalu Base Camp in eastern Nepal and flown to Kathmandu.

Domestic and international emergency response teams are racing against time and odds to rush in medical aid to people in worst-affected areas of the quake-hit country, including through flying in mobile clinics to far-flung villages and providing in psychological support to traumatised victims of the tragedy.

Nepal lifted import taxes on tarpaulins and tents on Friday but home ministry spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal said all goods arriving from abroad had to be inspected.

Remote mountainous areas in the country have suffered “almost total devastation” from the powerful quake, aid agencies have warned, even as relief slowly began to reach far-flung regions.

International humanitarian bodies have called for greater urgency in relief efforts that have been hampered due to dozens of tremors and bad weather.

There are estimates that up to 40,000 homes in Sindupalchowk alone have been destroyed, the International Federation of Red Cross said in a statement.

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