Quake tragedy in Nepal as embassy wall collapses

September 19, 2011 8:58 am

, KATHMANDU, Sept 19 – A Nepalese motorcyclist was driving past the British embassy in Kathmandu with his eight-year-old daughter on board when a wall of the compound collapsed in earthquake tremors, killing them both.

Witnesses described how police dug through remains of the wall to search for any other victims as Sajan Shrestha, 36, his daughter Anisha and another man were rushed to emergency care.

All three were declared dead at the Man Mohan Memorial Hospital on Sunday evening, as the scale of damage from the earthquake centred in northeast India began to emerge.

“Police personnel were clearing the bricks and were trying to find out whether there were any additional casualties,” Kailash Khadka, a local reporter, told AFP.

“A crowd with more than 100 locals had surrounded the area. There was a sense of grief, fear and anger over the incident.”

Santosh Kumar Jha, a doctor at the hospital, told AFP that Shrestha was dead on arrival.

“Both had serious head injuries. We tried unsuccessfully to save his daughter Anisha but then the third patient, 19-year-old Bir Bahadur Majhi, was brought in.

“There was heavy bleeding and the relatives were crying.”

John Tucknott, British ambassador to Nepal, visited relatives of the dead on Monday to express his condolences, as the mission said it would do everything possible to help those affected.

“The British embassy deeply regrets the deaths of three Nepali citizens and injuries to others as a result of the collapse of part of the embassy compound perimeter wall,” it said in a statement.

The 6.9-magnitude earthquake was on the border of India’s Sikkim state and eastern Nepal, and police in Kathmandu said hundreds of homes and at least 35 police posts were damaged in eastern districts.

Relief efforts have been hampered by heavy monsoon rain and the only highway into the remote area has been blocked by mudslides, Nepalese police spokesman Binod Singh told AFP.

“We have formed rescue teams in each affected district. They are assessing the damage and organising the rescue and relief operations,” he said.

Nearly 500 houses were damaged in Taplejung and Panchthar districts, local officers said.

The death toll in Nepal rose to six on Monday after officials said a child had been killed in the country’s northeastern hills when a house collapsed.

At least 45 people died in India, Nepal and Tibet.


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