Connect with us

World

Nepal quake: Death toll nears 2,500

Published

 on 

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Nepal quake: Death toll  nears 2,500
Reuters / Phuket Gazette


PHUKET: Thousands of desperate Nepalese spent another night in the open in the early hours of Monday, terrorized by strong aftershocks that continued to shake the country two days after a massive quake struck, killing almost 2,500 people.

Across the capital, Kathmandu, and beyond, exhausted families whose homes were either flattened or at risk of collapse laid mattresses out on streets and erected tents to shelter from rain. The sick and wounded also lay out in the open, unable to find beds in the city’s overwhelmed hospitals.

Outside Kathmandu Medical College, surgeons set up an operating theater inside a tent.

People queued for water dispensed from the back of trucks, while the few stores still open had next to nothing on their shelves. Crowds jostled at one pharmacy to snap up medicine.

High in the Himalayas, hundreds of foreign and Nepalese climbers remained trapped after a huge avalanche killed 17 people in the worst single disaster to hit Mount Everest.

A total of 2,460 people were confirmed killed in the 7.9 magnitude quake, making it the worst such disaster to hit Nepal since 1934 when 8,500 died. Thousands more were injured.

The death toll is likely to climb as rescue workers struggle to reach remote regions in the impoverished, mountainous country of 28 million people and as bodies still buried under rubble are recovered.

With so many people sleeping in the open with no power or water and downpours forecast, fears mounted of major food and water shortages. Across the country, hundreds of villages have been left to fend for themselves.

“We are overwhelmed with rescue and assistance requests from all across the country,” said Deepak Panda, a member of the country’s disaster management.

Several countries rushed to send aid and personnel.

India flew in medical supplies and members of its National Disaster Response Force. China sent a 60-strong emergency team. Pakistan’s army said it was sending four C-130 aircraft with a 30-bed hospital, search and rescue teams and relief supplies.

A Pentagon spokesman said a U.S. military aircraft with 70 personnel left the United States on Sunday and was due in Kathmandu on Monday. Australia said it was sending a specialist urban search and rescue team to Kathmandu at Nepal’s request.

Britain, which believes several hundred of its nationals are in Nepal, said it was delivering supplies, medics and search and rescue teams.

But there has been little sign of international assistance on the ground so far, with some aid flights prevented from landing by aftershocks that closed Kathmandu’s main airport several times on Sunday.

AVALANCHE TERROR

In the Himalayas, hundreds of climbers were still feeling tremors on Sunday powerful enough to send snow and boulders cascading toward them.

The huge and deadly avalanche on Saturday triggered by the earthquake caused panic at Everest base camp, a sprawling “city” of tents from where mountaineers set off for the world’s highest peak.

“It was a monstrous sound, like the demons had descended on the mountain,” Khile Sherpa, a Nepalese guide, told Reuters, recalling the moment the avalanche hit.

He was one of the lucky few airlifted to the relative safety of Kathmandu, although hospitals there were overflowing and hundreds of patients had to wait outside to be treated.

The disaster has underlined the woeful state of Nepal’s medical facilities. The country has only 2.1 physicians and 50 hospital beds for every 10,000 people, according to a 2011 World Health Organization report.

“The earthquake has exposed that Nepal’s best public hospital infrastructure has crumbled at a time when it should serve more people in a hurry,” said Sarvendra Moongla, a senior surgeon at Bir Hospital’s Trauma Centre in Kathmandu, which opened in February.

At the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, bodies, including that of a boy aged about seven, were heaped in a dark room. The stench of death was overpowering.

Outside, a 30-year-old woman who had been widowed wailed: “Oh Lord, why did you take him alone? Take me along with him.”

COUNTING THE COST

Rajiv Biswas, Asia Pacific chief economist at business research firm IHS, said long-term reconstruction costs in Nepal using proper building standards for an earthquake zone could be more than $5 billion, or around 20 percent of the country’s GDP.

“With housing construction standards in Nepal being extremely low … the impact of the earthquake has been devastating based on initial reports,” he said in an early analysis of the likely damage.

In crowded Kathmandu, many buildings were flattened or badly damaged.

Nepali army officer Santosh Nepal and a group of rescuers worked all night on Saturday to open a passage into a collapsed building in Kathmandu. They used pick axes because bulldozers could not get through the ancient city’s narrow streets.

“We believe there are still people trapped inside,” he told Reuters, pointing at concrete debris and twisted reinforcement rods where a three-storey residential building once stood.

Among the capital’s landmarks destroyed in the earthquake was the 60-metre (200-foot) Dharahara Tower, built in 1832 for the queen of Nepal.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand2 mins ago

Electioneering: Thaksin’s daughter vows to end poverty in Thailand

Thailand9 mins ago

Thai travel agent group says travel restrictions hamper tourism growth

Hot News33 mins ago

Thailand pushes for more international flights as tourism surges

Sponsored1 day ago

Challenges of starting a business in Thailand as a foreigner

Crime43 mins ago

Man stabs passersby in Bangkok, 1 killed 1 injured

Thailand2 hours ago

VIDEO: Shit hits the fan as man attacks friend for mocking him in a leaked sex tape

Indonesia3 hours ago

Thailand teaches Indonesia how to legalise cannabis

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Expats3 hours ago

A British musician bangs drums of discontent after breaking leg in Thailand

Thailand4 hours ago

Thailand to celebrate its 10 millionth tourist on December 10

Cannabis News4 hours ago

Homeowner beats cannabis thief to death in northeast Thailand

Thailand5 hours ago

British man who loves Thailand banned for 5 years for overstaying

Thailand5 hours ago

Thai rapper ‘Milli’ makes BBC 100 Women 2022 list

Crime5 hours ago

Wife strangled to death by jealous husband in Chon Buri

Guides6 hours ago

Restaurants in Thailand that received 2 MICHELIN Star (MICHELIN Guide Thailand 2023)

Hot News6 hours ago

Koh Samui Christmas events lineup

Thailand7 hours ago

Another Taxi scam in Bangkok! | GMT

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending