Nepal earthquake death toll tops 3,700 as rescuers struggle to reach villages near epicentre
Tens of thousands of families slept outdoors for a second night, fearful of aftershocks that have not ceased.
KATHMANDU, NEPAL—The death toll from Nepal’s earthquake soared past 3,700 Monday, and how much higher it would rise depended largely on the condition of vulnerable mountain villages that rescue workers were still struggling to reach two days after the disaster.
Reports received so far by the government and aid groups suggest that many communities perched on mountainsides are devastated or struggling to cope. Udav Prashad Timalsina, the top official for the Gorkha district, near the epicentre of Saturday’s quake, said he was in desperate need of help.
“There are people who are not getting food and shelter. I’ve had reports of villages where 70 per cent of the houses have been destroyed,” he said.
He said 223 people had been confirmed dead in the district but he presumed “the number would go up because there are thousands who are injured.”
Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake spread horror from Kathmandu to small villages and to the slopes of Mount Everest, triggering an avalanche that buried part of the base camp packed with foreign climbers preparing to make their summit attempts.
Timalsina said his district had not received enough help from the central government, but Jagdish Pokhrel, the clearly exhausted army spokesman, said nearly the entire 100,000-soldier army was involved in rescue operations.