KATHMANDU, Nepal, Apr 28 – Rescuers in Nepal battled Tuesday to reach remote communities devastated by a huge earthquake that has killed at least 4,310 people, as the impoverished country’s leader said relief workers had still not reached many of the worst-hit areas.
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala told an emergency all-party meeting the government was sending desperately needed tents, water and food supplies to those in need.
But he said getting help to remote Himalayan villages left devastated by Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude quake was a “major challenge” in the desperately poor country, where many communities are inaccessible by road.
“Appeals for rescues are coming in from everywhere,” a statement from Koirala’s office quoted him as saying.
“But we have been unable to initiate rescue efforts in many areas at the same time due to lack of equipment and rescue experts.”
With fears rising of food and water shortages, Nepalis were rushing to stores and petrol stations to stock up on essential supplies in the capital Kathmandu. READ: Aftershocks cause more terror as Nepal quake toll tops 2,300.
Home ministry spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal said Tuesday the official death toll had risen to 4,310, with a further 7,953 known to have been injured.
Officials had previously put the death toll at 4,010, making it the quake-prone Himalayan nation’s deadliest disaster in more than 80 years.
Another 73 people died in India. The toll in China’s far western region of Tibet, which neighbours Nepal, rose to 25, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the area’s disaster relief headquarters.
In Nepal, there are fears the death toll could jump once rescuers discover the full extent of devastation in villages outside Kathmandu.
Three days after the quake hit, rescue teams have still not reached some of the worst-affected areas of Lamjung, the site of the quake’s epicentre, around 140 kilometres (85 miles) west of the capital.
“The situation here is not good. So many have lost their homes. They don’t have enough water or food,” said Udav Prasad Timilsina, the head official in the district of Gorkha where Lamjung is located.
“We haven’t even been able to treat the injured. We are in urgent need of essentials like food, water… and medicines and tents. Rescuers are coming in, but we need help.”