Four rescued as Nepal death toll soars
A 101-year-old man and three women were rescued alive in rare cases of good news as number of deaths climb to 7,250.
Rescuers have pulled a 101-year-old man and three women alive from his ruined home a week after Nepal’s earthquake claimed at least 7,250 lives, as the government warned that the death toll will climb “much higher”.
Funchu Tamang was rescued from the rubble of his house with only minor injuries to his ankle and hand, after the quake ripped through the impoverished country on April 25, AFP news agency reported on Sunday.
“He was brought to the district hospital in a helicopter. His condition is stable,” local police officer Arun Kumar Singh told AFP from Nuwakot district, around 80km northwest of the capital Kathmandu.
Police also pulled three women alive from under rubble on Sunday in Sindhupalchowk, one of the worst-hit districts, although it was not immediately known how long they had been trapped.
As of Sunday, more than 14,000 people have been reported injured.
The rescues were rare good news for the devastated country after officials on Saturday had ruled out finding more survivors buried in the ruins, and the focus shifted to trying to deliver aid to thousands of survivors.
Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat said the death toll was likely to jump once relief teams reached mountain villages flattened in the worst quake to hit the nation in more than 80 years.
“There are still villages where we know that all houses have been destroyed, but have not yet been able to reach,” Mahat said in a statement.
“The aftershocks have not receded and we expect the final casualty numbers to climb much higher,” the minister said, as he appealed for hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign donations to help rebuild the country.
Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Jamjoom, who reports from a remote village in Eastern Gorkha District, said that in some villages, as much as 90 percent of homes have been destroyed.
The 7.8-magnitude quake wreaked a trail of death and destruction, reducing much of the capital Kathmandu to rubble and triggering a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest.
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Although teams of rescuers from more than 20 countries have been using sniffer dogs and heat-seeking equipment to find survivors in the rubble since the quake, no one has been pulled out alive in the capital Kathmandu since Thursday evening.
In the worst-hit districts of Gorkha and Sindhupalchowk, almost 90 percent of the mostly stone and mud homes have been destroyed, the United Nations said in its latest situation report.
“Our priority now is really to try to reach those people (in remote areas), get immediate assistance to them,” the UN’s head of humanitarian affairs Valerie Amos said.
But Amos has said she was worried that the tonnes of foreign aid pouring into Nepal was being held up by red tape.
“I was extremely concerned to hear reports that customs was taking such a long time,” Amos told AFP, saying she had asked Prime Minister Sushil Koirala to speed up customs clearance for aid materials.