A woman and a teenage boy have been pulled alive from rubble in Kathmandu, five days after a magnitude-7.8 earthquake devastated Nepal. Bad weather is hampering the delivery of aid to hard-hit regions.
Cheers erupted in Nepal's capital Kathmandu on Thursday as a team of rescuers pulled 15-year-old Pemba Tamang from the wreckage of a collapsed hotel building.
The teenager had been trapped beneath the rubble of the seven-story structure since Saturday when a massive earthquake struck the impoverished Himalayan nation and killed more than 5,800 people.
Several hours after Tamang's rescue, Kathmandu police said that a woman in her 20s named as Krishna Devi Khadka (pictured above) had been pulled alive from debris near the city's main bus terminal.
Tamang told The Associated Press he was working in a hotel in the building when it began to shake.
"Suddenly the building fell down. I thought I was about to die." He survived for five days on ghee or clarified butter.
Although many shops and businesses in Kathmandu reopened on Thursday, aftershocks continue to be felt around the region. According to J.L. Gautam, director of seismology at the Indian Meteorological Department in New Delhi, more than 70 aftershocks stronger than magnitude 3.2 have been recorded over the past five days.
Outside the capital, the extent of the damage and loss of life is yet to be assessed. Prime Minister Sushil Koirala told Reuters earlier this week that the death toll from the quake could reach 10,000 once information on casualties from those rural areas comes in.
According to the United Nations, at least 130,000 homes have been destroyed while some 2.8 million Nepalese are displaced.
Persistent rain, blocked roads, and difficult mountainous terrain have slowed down efforts to get aid out to more remote villages north of Kathmandu. Nepal has appealed to foreign governments for more helicopters to speed up the distribution of food, water and shelter.
On Wednesday, helicopters finally arrived with aid in the northwestern mountainous Gorkha District close to the quake's epicenter, where entire clusters of homes have been reduced to rubble. Many villagers in the badly-hit region were living outdoors with little food and water.
Call for foreign aid
The UN says more than $22 million (19.6 million euros) in aid donations had been received from member states and private organizations in response to its called for $415 million to meet urgent needs.
The International Monetary Fund said it was ready to extend aid to Nepal and would send a team to assess the situation "as soon as possible."
Meanwhile, the UN food agency on Thursday called for $8 million (7.1 million euros) in donations to help Nepalese farmers recover from the quake and plant rice when the season begins in late May. Missing the planting season would leave farmers without a crop to harvest in late 2016, threatening the country's food supply.
nm/jil (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)