— On seventh day of the devastating earthquake of April 24, measuring 7.8 in intensity, the death toll is nearing 6000 while the injured count has crossed 11000 mark. Nepal army chief feared death toll could be as high as 15000. The final figure, or around it, will take days to arrive at and it is expected to be in many thousands.
— And it not just about dead and injured. Millions are left homes, displaced staying in outdoors, children alike. Many families are wiped out. Many families have family-members lost. Many families have very few or single survivors. According to the UN, some 70,000 houses are destroyed while 530,000 have suffered heavy structural damage.
— Whole of Kathmandu is looking like a refugee camp. It is dotted with tents. Teams of disaster management personnel, security apparatus, government officials, aid workers and people of Kathmandu have the combined responsibility of maintaining sanitation and hygiene. According to reports, they are failing in this because of government and because of people. Smell of human faeces and urine can be felt around relief camps of Kathmandu.
— Whole of Kathmandu valley and the affected regions of Nepal look like ghost towns. Quake epicentre in Gorkha district is totally vanished. No house is left in Barpak. There are many villages in the interior of Nepal where help is yet to reach. And whenever the aid teams reach there, their functionality would be basically about relief efforts as they would have no one to rescue anymore. Apart from some miraculous stories of survival, all would be dead by then.
— UN says 1.8 million immediately need food and water assistance. It estimates around 8 million are affected across 39 districts. 11 of it are considered severely damaged in the quake of April 24 and tremors and aftershocks after it. UN has appealed to the world community for an immediate relief of $US 415 million.
— People are protesting. Earthquake victims are clashing with police and government officials. They have no food. They have no water. The home looks frightening to the majority living out in the streets even if there is a home. Sheer frustration is leading them to block roads and relief operations blaming government of apathy and delay.
— Roads are hit with splits and cracks. Many bridges are gone. Choppers are not finding place to land in worst affected villages and remote towns and are airdropping relief materials. According to some reports, such areas need a trek of five days to reach there. The UN quotes ‘significant logistical challenges’ in reaching out to such rural areas.
— Nepal will have to work in different ways in different areas. The areas with relief camps need to see efforts towards rehabilitation and reconstruction now as Monsoon is near. The areas not yet reached need aid teams and relief work. Reaching there and providing relief should be the priority of aid teams. The UN said – Some villages can only be reached by foot with some areas taking up to four to five days to reach. Fuel to transport SAR teams (search and rescue) is limited. There is a need to prioritise restoration of communications infrastructure, casualty management and basic relief in remote areas.
— Nepal had three aftershocks today, two of them measuring 3.9 and 4.7. Nepal is expected to have aftershocks for months.
— Being a rainy day, rains hampered rescue and relief operations today.
— India is at the forefront of R&R operations in affected regions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior ministers and officials are personally looking after the work being done there. They are holding regular meetings. India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval are scheduled to visit Nepal tomorrow.
— Nepal government appealed its people to start their lives again. It has asked its employees to come to offices. Workers are told to engage in rehabilitation efforts along with day to day activity. Some shops, restaurants and casinos are opening up. Government has told shopkeepers to return to business. Banks are operating in Kathmandu. Government is working to reopen schools.
— According to a report by the Associated Press, Nepal may allow Himalayan trekking and climbing to Mount Everest if climbers do so. The report says that the climbing season may be extended to June. Traditionally, bad weather makes it difficult to ascend the world’s highest peak beyond May.
— 19 are confirmed dead here, in Everest base camp area and on the way up. Scores are missing. China has closed the northern route to the peak for Spring. The southern route from Nepal, badly damaged in the earthquake, is the popular one. According to the AP report, Nepal will be able to open it up within a week.
— China did not use its military planes to evacuate stranded Chinese. Also, India has outdone China in evacuating its nationals. Chinese PLA is being criticised for it.
— Countries have continued evacuation of their stranded nationals. So far, India has helped 15 countries in evacuating its nationals. They are being evacuated through Tribhuvan international airport in Kathmandu and through road-routes via India. Many thousand Indians are still trapped in Nepal, a religious and historical country for Hinduism.
NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: UPDATES SO FAR – ON APRIL 29
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/