150 still stranded at Mt Everest; 72 fatalities in India; Tremors shake parts of WB & Bihar
New Delhi/ Kathmandu | Undaunted by inhospitable terrain and torrential rains, rescue teams fanned across earthquake-ravaged Nepal to pull out survivors from huge mounds of rubble of flattened buildings as death toll mounted to 3,725 in Saturday ‘s killer earthquake and continued trail of aftershocks.
Light intensity tremors, magnitude 5.1 on the Richter scale, and epicenter near Darjeeling, jolted parts of Nepal and India this evening.
In India, where many states including the national capital were jolted on Saturday and Sunday by aftershock, 72 people died ,including 56 in Bihar and 12 in UP, three in West Bengal and one in Rajasthan.
At least 25 mountaineers were killed at Mt. Everest in an avalanche triggered by the temblor. More than 150 mountaineers are still stranded there in damaged camps.
As ghastly visuals of the tragedy emerged on social media and news channels,
many countries today ramped up the rescue work in the monster quake hit Nepal. CCTV footage of various sites have revealed the severity of quake.
As many as 1,600 Indians have been evacuated from Nepal so far, while the Indian government has begun rescue and relief operations through land route also besides air, opening another line for ‘Operation Maitri’.
The government has also made a new helpline number 011-1078 operational for information. The government also advised NGOs wanting to send relief material, to contact Maj Gen Gupta within NDMA on phone no 8527892258 and e-mail email@example.com.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, addressing a joint news conference alongwith the secretaries of Defence and Home, said land routes had been opened as there was ”enormous pressure” on Kathmandu airport because of lots of flights coming in and going out.
About 100 buses and trucks with relief materials were reaching Kathmandu and Pokhara and Indian experts were working with Nepalese electricity authorities to restore power supply.
Rescue teams had reached the worst hit Pokhara and dropped food packets.
Indian armed forces have ramped up the rescue and relief operations and plane loads of medicines, food packets ,milk ,stretchers have already landed there . NDRF teams have raced to the affected areas .
Helicopters and fixed wing planes were already in service and now roads were being opened and avalanches at various places were being cleared. Choppers had moved between Kathmandu and Pokhara for the first time sending relief material.
Power grid team has managed to reach and started working with Nepal electricity authorities. Four different points have been made operational for buses and trucks and they have managed to reach Kathmandu.
The Uttar Pradesh government has sent 21 trucks, while Railways have agreed to put additional bogies. Four teams of NDRF continued to be in Bihar and one in Uttar Pradesh. Six helicopters are operating, but have been shifted out of Kathmandu so that pressure on Kathmandu airport is eased. Till date helicopters have rescued 337people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has convened a review meeting to take stock of the situation. In a miraculous escape,a middle-aged woman was pulled out live from rubble in Kathmandu by NDRF team. Fresh tremors of mild intensity hit various parts of India this evening.
Soon after aftershocks in large tracts in Bihar,West Bengal and Sikkim this evening, panic stricken people rushed out their houses in sheer fear.According to reports, the quake’s epicentre was near Darjeeling and its intensity was 5.1 on the Richter scale.
The IMD said a moderate intensity quake, measuring 5.1 magnitude on the Richter scale hit Nepal-India of West Bengal border.The temblor, which shook the region at 1806 hrs, was epicentred at 26.7 degrees north latitude and 88.1 degrees east longitude, it said .Its focal depth was 10 km, the IMD said.
Thousands of Nepalis began fleeing capital Kathmandu, terror-stricken by two days of powerful aftershocks and looming shortages of food and water.
A senior interior ministry official said authorities had not been able to establish contact with some of the worst affected areas in the mountainous nation, and that the death toll could reach 5,000.
Roads leading out of Kathmandu were jammed with people, some with babies in their arms, trying to climb onto buses or hitch a ride aboard cars and trucks to the plains.
Huge queues had formed at the city’s Tribhuvan International Airport, with tourists and residents desperate to get a flight out.
In Parliament,members cutting across political lines lauded Indian government efforts. Lok Sabha members decided to donate one month salary for the quake relief fund.
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