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Bad weather hampers Nepal earthquake aid efforts

Relief teams in Nepal have warned that aid could take as long as five days to reach those in need. While one survivor was pulled from rubble in Kathmandu, heavy rains have prevented supplies from reaching remote areas.

Even as hopes of finding survivors continued to dwindle Thursday and torrential rain prevented helicopters from flying to the worst-hit areas in the countryside of the impoverished Himalayan nation, one survivor was pulled out from beneath the rubble of a collapsed building in Kathmandu.

A spokesman for Nepal's Interior Ministry confirmed that a 15-year-old boy had been rescued five days after the earthquake struck, but also warned that weather conditions made it increasingly difficult to find survivors.

"There may not be any more survivors," Rameshwor Dandal, chief of the disaster management center at Nepal's Interior Ministry said. "The rain is adding to the problems. Nature seems to be against us."

According to Nepalese officials, the death toll has risen to over 5,800, with more than 10,000 people also known to have been injured in Saturday's 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

The quake affected at least 30 of Nepal's 75 districts, mostly in northern mountainous regions, where around

70,000 houses have been destroyed and another 530,000

damaged.

Road accessibility has been a major problem for relief work, with most roads to villages badly damaged from landslides and cracks.

'Logistical challenges'

In its latest situation report, the United Nations (UN) also said that search-and-rescue (SAR) operations were still limited outside of the Kathmandu Valley.

"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 is limited," the report said.

Nepal's resident coordinator for the intergovernmental organization, Jamie McGoldrick, also said that the UN's $415 million (374 million euro) appeal for survivors faced "significant logistical challenges."

Riots in Kathmandu

Patience among survivors of the earthquake reached breaking point Wednesday, and riots broke out near government buildings in Kathmandu.

Long queues of people attempting to board government-organized buses in the hope of seeing the damage back in their families' villages were left angered after only a fraction of the buses arrived.

Some of the protesters forced a truck carrying drinking water off the road and climbed on top of it, throwing the bottles to people surrounding the vehicle.

The government has already acknowledged it had been overwhelmed by the devastation from the quake.

"The disaster has been so huge and unprecedented that we have not been in a position to meet the expectations of the needy people. But we are ready to accept our weakness, learn and move ahead in the best way possible," Communications Minister Minendra Rijal told Nepal's Kantipur Television on Wednesday.

ksb,nm/sms (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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