KATHMANDU, Nepal, Apr 29 – Nepalese riot police battled Wednesday to contain anger among survivors of an earthquake that killed more than 5,000 people as rescuers raced against time to find anyone else alive in the rubble of the capital Kathmandu.
Supplies are running thin and aftershocks have strained nerves in the ruined city. Desperate to leave, thousands of people began gathering from before dawn outside the main bus station after the government promised to lay on special services.
But when the buses failed to materialise, anger began surging and scuffles broke out between the crowds and the columns of riot police who were sent in to try to contain the situation near parliament.
“We have been waiting since dawn. They told us that there would be 250 buses coming but we haven’t seen any of them,” said Kishor Kavre, a 25-year-old student.
“We’re in a hurry to get home to see our families but we’ve no idea when they’re coming now. I think the government is struggling.”
There was also desperation in devastated rural areas where people have been pleading to be airlifted out when the occasional helicopter has reached their villages with relief supplies.
A total of 5,057 people are so far known to have died in Nepal alone from Saturday’s quake, and around 100 more in neighbouring India and China.
Around 8,000 were injured while the United Nations estimates that eight million people have been affected by Nepal’s worst natural disaster in eight decades.
Among the dead were 18 climbers who were at Mount Everest base camp when an avalanche from the quake flattened everything in its path. The victims included two Americans, an Australian and a Chinese national.
Although the aftershocks have begun to subside, hundreds of thousands of people were still sleeping outside in the streets as their homes had either been wrecked or were feared to be on the verge of collapse.