The Latest on Nepal Quake: Death toll 4,438 in 3 countries

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NEPAL (April 28, 2015) –

10.00 a.m. (0415 GMT)

Army troops are loading blue tarpaulin sheets, medical kits and dehydrated food, water bottles, sacks of rice and blankets at a flat area that is being used as a helipad in Gorkha town.

Gorkha district was the epicenter of Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake that has killed more than 4,300 people.

With the weather clearing it seems that for now helicopters will be able to pick up the supplies and relay to smaller villages.

The weather has been erratic over the last two days — there has been some rain and cloud cover making it difficult for helicopters to land in some areas close to the epicenter.

— Katy Daigle, Gorkha, Nepal

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9.45 a.m. (0400 GMT)

A team of 37 New Zealand urban search-and-rescue experts due to leave Monday night for Kathmandu has been told at the 11th hour not to come.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said in a statement that Nepal’s government had informed him they had enough expertise in the country and the team was no longer required.

New Zealand has contributed 1 million New Zealand dollars ($761,000) to the relief effort following Saturday’s earthquake that killed more than 4,300 people.

— Nick Perry, Wellington, New Zealand

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9.30 a.m. (0345 GMT)

Army troops are loading bags of rice and cornmeal into a storage room at the district headquarters in Gorkha, the epicenter of Saturday’s massive earthquake.

District official Surya Mohan Adhikari says the supplies will be sent out later in the day to villages that need them most.

He said that in the rural areas 90 percent of the people have been affected “by this calamity. They have lost their homes and livestock. They have no way of getting food.”

He says it is very difficult to reach them. They are cut off by landslides on the mountain roads, and the wind and rain is making it difficult for helicopters to land.

Adhikari said they have reports of some 300 casualties, but that number is rising. Nationwide, more than 4,300 people have been killed in the magnitude 7.8 quake.

— Katy Daigle, Gorkha, Nepal

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9.00 a.m. (0315 GMT)

A Nepal police official says at least 4,352 bodies have so far been recovered after last week’s massive earthquake that struck just outside of capital Kathmandu.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Komal Singh Bam says the toll includes 1,176 bodies recovered in Sindhupalchuk district, just northeast of the capital.

He says 8,063 people have been injured in the magnitude 7.8 quake.

Another 18 people were also killed in a quake-triggered avalanche that swept the Everest base camp. In neighboring India 61 people were killed and China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported 25 dead in Tibet.

— Binaj Gurubacharya, Kathmandu, Nepal

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8.45 a.m. (0300 GMT)

A local seismologist says major aftershocks are now unlikely to occur as the 72-hour mark after Saturday’s devastating earthquake approaches.

Lok Bijaya Adhikari, chief of Nepal’s National Seismological Center, says the number and strength of aftershocks have been receding. There have been more than 100 aftershocks since Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 temblor that left more than 4,300 people confirmed dead so far. The largest of these was magnitude 6.7 on Sunday.

The ground shook Tuesday morning at 5 a.m. but measured only magnitude 4.5.

Smaller aftershocks are expected to continue for a month and Kathmandu residents could continue to feel tremors because the epicenter is close to the city.

— Binaj Gurubacharya, Kathmandu, Nepal

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8.15 a.m. (0230 GMT)

Health workers fear a major health crisis among the survivors of Saturday’s massive earthquake who are living in the open or in crowded tents with no access to sanitation or clean water.

Baburam Marasini, director of Nepal’s Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, says their main concern is making sure people get clean water.

He says “we fear diseases.” He says the department is asking people to take precautions such as eating with a clean spoon and not with their hands as most people here normally do.

He says people are also being asked to drink clean water. Attempts are also being made to reach rural areas quickly where a clear picture of the death toll — now more than 4,300 — is still not available.

— Binaj Gurubacharya, Kathmandu, Nepal

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8.15 a.m. (0230 GMT)

A government official says business owners are being asked to open their shops amid anxiety among locals about dwindling food and medical supplies in the wake of Saturday’s earthquake that has left more than 4,300 people dead.

Naindra Prasad Upadhaya, an official at the Commerce and Supplies Ministry says the government has made arrangements to pick up food and supplies directly from factories and distribute them free in areas where necessary.

Water has been the big issue. There will be more tankers bringing water to the areas where people are camped out in Kathmandu and surrounding areas, he says. Food will also be sent to the rural areas on helicopters, he says.

Police are on the lookout for businesses that are overcharging to take advantage of demand and scarcity, and such people will be arrested and punished, he said.

 

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