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Nepal urges better international aid coordination

Nepal has urged the world not to "dump" inappropriate aid on the earthquake-hit nation amid its logistics nightmare. Fights and looting have broken out as survivors cope with lack of clean water, food and medicine.

Nepal's disaster management head Ram Kumar Dahal said on Wednesday only specific relief, such as such as tents, medics to treat the injured, dry food and monetary donations, should be sent to the country as Kathmandu's logistics network bottlenecks.

UN officials and representatives of nongovernmental agencies such as World Vision said destroyed roads left many in remote, devastated villages still cut off from assistance.

A spokesman for the Israeli rescue group Magnus said fights had broken out in the popular Rasuwa trekking area north of Kathmandu.

"Villagers think the tourists are taking too much food," Magnus member Amit Rubin told Reuters.

UN food emergency officer Geoff Pinnock said distributions, which included high-energy biscuits, would start Wednesday.

Nepalese soldiers have been sent by bus and then on foot to reach remote sites where helicopters are unable to land.

Avoid 'aid dumping'

Dahal, who is attached to Nepal's Interior Ministry, told the German news agency DPA that the "international community should not dump unnecessary items on us."

Kathmandu's single-runway airport was "overcrowded" as teams and relief materials arrived and survivors, including tourists, tried to get out.

The 24 foreign search-and-rescue teams that had arrived so far "should be enough," he said. The challenge was to get them to "quake-stricken remote villages."

"Specific medical professionals, like [orthopedists], neurologists, surgeons, anesthetists, are also needed, as well antibiotics, operating equipment and event beds," Dahal said.

Downed telephone and electrical systems across 22 affected and largely inaccessible mountainous regions still made coordination very difficult.

"Managing the rescue-relief efforts is the first challenge," Dahal said, adding that aftershocks compounded the misery of millions living outside amid monsoon rain (pictured above).

Great Britain said it was sending 30 additional medics, and heavy lifting equipment to ease congestion at Kathmandu's airport.

Death toll exceeds 5,000

Nepal's government raised its official death toll Wednesday to 5,006. The United Nations said just 14 people had been rescued alive since Saturday's 7.8 magnitude quake - Nepal's worst in eight decades.

In a rare glimmer of hope, a Nepali-French team extracted a 28-year-old man alive from a collapsed apartment block on Tuesday. Rishi Khanal had spent three days trapped alongside three dead.

At Laprak, a village best known as the home of Gurkha soldiers, only 100 of its estimated 1,700 houses remained standing.

On the edge of Kathmandu's Bagmati River, Hindu funeral pyres were lit for 18 members of a Nepalese family killed in the collapse of a single four-story house.

Looting, arrests, rumors

Kathmandu police spokesman Bigyan Raj Sharma said looting of abandoned homes had resulted in 27 arrests. Also arrested were four people accused of spreading false rumors via social media suggesting that an even bigger quake was to come.

Kathmandu's open spaces and parks still swarmed with hundreds of thousands of people, many trying to sleep under makeshift plastic and tarpaulin shelters. The city's "kalimati" vegetable market reopened Wednesday, restoring a semblance of normality.

Guiding firms said all climbers on the Nepal side of Mount Everest had left the mountain's flanks following Saturday's quake avalanche that killed 18 climbers.

UN monitors said Saturday's quake was detected as far away as Antarctica and Argentina by 70 seismic stations that monitor the globe for underground nuclear testing.

ipj/sms (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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