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Aid trickles into Nepal

April 29, 2015

In Nepal, aid and rescue workers have been coming in from around the globe. But officials are struggling to transport essential supplies to the country's most remote communities, which have been cut off since Saturday.

Nepal Erdbeben Kathmandu Helfer
Image: Reuters/N. Chitrakar

Recovery efforts resumed on Wednesday, five days after the Himalayan country's worst tremor in decades destroyed whole towns and claimed thousands of lives, plunging the nation into a state of emergency.

"The government is doing all it can for rescue and relief on a war footing," Koirala said. "It is a challenge and a very difficult hour for Nepal," said the country's prime minister, Sushil Koirala.

A statement from the prime minister's office further quoted him as saying: "We have been unable to initiate rescue efforts in many areas at the same time due to lack of equipment and rescue experts."

The death toll is expected to rise as more rubble was cleared and rescue workers gradually reached remote areas.

Nepal Erdbeben Kathmandu
Survivors face the difficult task of both clearing the rubble and saying final farewells to loved ones killed in the disasterImage: Reuters/A. Abidi

As of Tuesday, the toll had topped 5,000. Eighteen climbers on Mt. Everest were among the victims. The prime minister has said that the number of fatalities could reach up to 10,000 in the coming days.

More than 8,000 people were injured during the earthquake and the subsequent aftershocks, which levied further damage and, in some cases, unleashed avalanches and mudslides.

The United Nations estimates that more than 8 million people have been affected by the disaster. That number includes China's and India's bordering regions.

UN aid envoy to travel to Nepal

On Tuesday, the UN pledged $15 million (13.7 million euros) in relief aid to Nepal, with food aid to be provided by its World Food Programme for the next three months.

Nepal Erdbeben Kathmandu Versorgungslage
Those who remain in Kathmandu have been forced to sleep outdoorsImage: Reuters/N. Chitrakar

Its aid envoy, Valerie Amos, was also scheduled to travel to the Himalayan country for a three-day visit beginning on Thursday to "show solidarity with the Nepalese people, raise the visibility of the crisis and assess the response operations," UN spokesman Farhan Haq said.

The EU and Australia and other nations have also pledged millions in emergency response aid, with the US mobilizing troops and China sending dozens of search-and-rescue personnel.

Supply shortages

From the capital of Kathmandu to the far reaches of the mountainous Asian nation, residents grappled with shortages of food, water and medical supplies.

Thousands of people have left Kathmandu in the days since the earthquake. Those who remain behind have been sleeping outdoors either because they have lost their homes or they fear it will collapse with the next aftershock.

Nepal Not und Zerstörung nach Erdbeben in abgelegenen Dörfern
Kathmandu is struggling to transport essential goods to its most remote villagesImage: AFP/Getty Images/S. Hussain

In Nepal's more remote communities, relief helicopters have struggled to find adequate landing spots, forcing them to drop aid by air in the hopes of reaching those in need. Soldiers reportedly began attempting to reach these stranded villages by foot on Tuesday.

kms/gsw (AP, AFP, Reuters)