Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomenewsNepal calls off search and rescue to focus on earthquake relief efforts

Nepal calls off search and rescue to focus on earthquake relief efforts

The search and rescue efforts have been called off in Nepal, 36 hours after a disastrous earthquake killed at least 157 people and destroyed houses in the remote northwest region.

Officials have shifted their focus to providing relief, food and shelter for survivors.

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At least 105 people were confirmed dead in Jajarkot district, a mostly agricultural area, while 52 people were killed in the neighbouring Rukum district, officials said. Another 184 were injured.

At the regional hospital in the city of Nepalgunj, more than 100 beds were made available and teams of doctors stood by to help the injured.

Many survivors spent the night under the open sky, their mud houses reduced to piles of rubble when the magnitude 5.6 earthquake hit late on Friday night, at 11:47pm (18:02 GMT) in the northwestern region with a population of about 190,000 people.

Several people died in the village of Nalgad, in the worst-hit Jajarkot district, where Mahesh Chanare prepared to cremate his father-in-law on Sunday.

“The rest of my family is safe,” the 34-year-old plumber said. “But the houses have buried everything with them, there is hardly anything to eat,” he added.

“No relief materials have reached us. People here desperately need food and tents.”

Search and rescue wraps up

Provincial police spokesperson Gopal Chandra Bhattarai said that officials are in contact with all the affected areas and have completed rescue operations. “But we are still on alert as this is a remote area and there might be some isolated areas from where information has not flowed,” he said.

Harish Chandra Sharma, a Jajarkot district official, said the focus was now on providing relief to the victims. “It has been a tough night and we are trying to get relief materials to those affected by the quake,” Sharma said. “Some have been distributed but we need to reach all areas.”

On Friday, locals frantically dug through rubble in the dark to pull survivors from the wreckage of collapsed homes and buildings, as others crouched outside for safety.

Security forces were deployed on foot and helicopters and small government planes that were able to maneuver the mountainous region were also pressed into action to assist with search and rescue operations and ferry the wounded to hospitals.

In some affected areas, rescue and search teams cleared landslides caused by the earthquake in order to open road access, Bhattarai said.

The tremors were felt as far away as the capital Kathmandu about 400km (250 miles) and even about 600km (375 miles) away in the Indian capital New Delhi.

Nepal lies on a major geological fault line where the Indian tectonic plate pushes up into the Eurasian plate, forming the Himalayas, and earthquakes are a regular occurrence.

In 2015, about 9,000 people were killed in two earthquakes in Nepal. Whole towns, centuries-old temples and other historic sites were reduced to rubble, with more than a million houses destroyed.

Source: News Agencies

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