Nepal quake toll nears 7,000; protests mount over slow relieftext_fields
Kathmandu: Fresh tremors rocked parts of Nepal Saturday, triggering landslides as the death toll in last Saturday’s devastating earthquake neared 7,000 and protests mounted over relief not reaching several affected areas.
A 5.1-magnitude aftershock shook Barpak village in Gorkha district near the epicentre of the powerful 7.9-magnitude temblor that had caused widespread destruction. A woman was injured due to the tremor that was preceded by a 4.5-magnitude aftershock, triggering panic among the people.
The second aftershock also led to landslides, adding to the woes of the quake-hit people, many of whom have been forced to stay in the open.
A major landslide occurred at Dolalghat between Sindupalchowk and Kawre district here. “No injuries have been reported so far,” said a police official.
The death toll in Nepal’s worst quake in 80 years shot up to over 6,700 and another 14,025 people injured as the government struggled to deal with the massive scale of the disaster.
“The death toll has reached 6,624,” said the home ministry’s national disaster management division but the figure is expected to go up further, with bodies still being pulled out from under mounds of debris in several areas including Miteripul, Chaku, Jhyalebhir, Nayapur, Daklang Paharo and Jhirpu.
Nepalese media said 16 bodies have been recovered along the Tatopani stretch of the Araniko Highway. Some foreigners are also believed to be buried in the landslides.
The Home Ministry here feels that there is unlikelihood of any more survivors in the April 25 quake.
Angry people took to the streets alleging that relief material was finding its way to the black market and prices of essential items had also been steeply hiked.
Many areas of the Kathmandu Valley are still deprived of necessary food items, which compelled people to resort to sloganeering against the authorities.
“A food item which is priced Rs. 20 is now available for Rs. 50. There is no transparency in the distribution of food and relief material,” said Nirmal Bishi, one of the protesters.
“They have just provided us with one bottle of water,” said Phulmaya Lagun, who has a family of 10 and homeless.
Many parts still have not got tarpaulin sheets. “Only the influential gets the relief material, but what about others,” claimed Dawa Sherpa, who works as a daily wage worker and has been jobless after the quake.