Two pulled from rubble five days after Nepal quake

Death toll passes 5,500, as some remote villages start receiving food and tents from aid workers.

Earthquake survivor Pema Lama is rescued by the Armed Police Force from the collapsed Hilton Hotel, a result of an earthquake in Kathmandu
A US disaster response team had been working for a few hours to try to free the trapped boy [Reuters]

A woman has been pulled from the rubble of a small hotel destroyed by the powerful earthquake that shook Nepal five days ago, hours after a teenage boy was pulled from the wreckage of a seven-storey Kathmandu building.

Krishna Devi Khadka was freed on Thursday after rescuers in the capital spent 10 hours digging her out of rubble, said emergency worker Roman Schulze.

Earlier, a 15-year-old named Pema Lama was pulled to safety as officials said the chances of finding more survivors were fading. Officials said the death toll had passed 5,500, with 11,440 injured.

Lama was trapped in rubble after Kathmandu’s Hilton Hotel collapsed around him in the 7.8-magnitude quake.

News of the rescues came as the first supplies of food aid began reaching remote, earthquake-shattered mountain villages in Nepal. 

Lama was carried out on a stretcher, his face covered in dust, and medics had put an IV drop into his arm.

A blue brace had been placed around his neck. He appeared stunned, and his eyes blinked in the sunlight.

LB Basnet, the police officer who crawled into a gap to reach the boy, told the AP news agency that he was surprisingly responsive.

“He thanked me when I first approached him,” said Basnet. “He told me his name, his address, and I gave him some water.”

Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Jamjoom, reporting from Kathmandu, said many people in the capital were calling the rescue a “near miracle”.

Thousands still sleeping in tents throughout Nepal

“This is something that really boosts the morale of rescuers at the scene,” Jamjoom said.

Aid frustration

Meanwhile, the UK relief agency Oxfam said congestion at Kathmandu airport, fuel shortages, blocked roads and difficult terrain were slowing down the pace of aid delivery.

The organisation said it was looking at ways to transport essential goods overland from India.

Challenges include getting aid to remote mountain villages, many of which are connected to the outside world by a single dirt road that may now be blocked by landslides, Oxfam said. Heavy rainfall is also a problem.

According to the UN, Saturday’s earthquake has displaced about 2.8 million Nepalese. More than 70,000 homes are believed to be destroyed and another 530,000 damaged in 39 out of the country’s 75 districts.

The earthquake, which was centred just outside Kathmandu, also triggered an avalanche that killed at least 19 people at the Everest base camp.

The UN World Food Program warned that it will take time for food and other supplies to reach more remote communities that have been cut off by landslides [AP]The UN World Food Program warned that it will take time for food and other supplies to reach more remote communities that have been cut off by landslides [AP]

Another 61 people were killed in neighbouring India and Bangladesh, and China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported 25 dead in Tibet.

Despite a steady morning drizzle on Thursday, hundreds of people were lining up in central Kathmandu hoping to get on government-run bus services so they could visit their homes in remote parts of the country.

“I have to get out of here, I have to get home. It has already been so many days,” said Shanti Kumari, a housewife.

Kumari said she was desperate to check on her family in her village in eastern Nepal. “I want to get at least a night of peace,” she said.

Over the past few days, the government has been running school buses free of charge for people wishing to travel to remote villages worst-hit by the earthquake.

Five days after the earthquake, tents at the Tudikhel grounds, in the heart of Kathmandu, had thinned out by Thursday morning.

Overnight rainfall forced people to return to their homes, many of which were damaged in the earthquake.

Nepal’s weather office predicted rain all day on Thursday, the weather was expected to improve later in the day or Friday.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies



Interactive outlines the size of area and population that would potentially be affected by any future Nepal earthquakes.

Published On 29 Apr 2015
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