It has been difficult to gauge the extent of the quake’s damage, let alone deliver aid to Nepal’s more far-flung districts.
Ten days after Nepal was struck by a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake, international relief workers have finally gained access to areas cut off by the disaster and international aid has reached some of the nation’s more remote areas, FRANCE 24 reports.
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The government of Nepal is asking foreign search-and-rescue teams to leave now that the likelihood of finding survivors buried by last month’s earthquake has largely passed. The official death toll now exceeds 7,300.
Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, a Home Ministry spokesman, said on Monday roughly half the 4,000 rescuers had already left. “I think all the rescuers will go to their respective countries by Friday.”
There seems almost no chance that anyone alive is still trapped amid the rubble from the quake, which struck just before noon on April 25. On Sunday, though, three survivors were found in the Sindhupalchok district, an especially hard hit and largely rural area north of Kathmandu.
Dr. Ian Norton, head of the World Health Organization’s program of foreign medical teams, said that the thousands of rescuers, who often work as firefighters in their home countries, had saved a total of 16 people in the aftermath of the quake, and that about 50 foreign medical teams comprising nearly 10,000 people had saved hundreds of lives and even more limbs.
[The New York Times]
There’s a lot of aid headed toward Nepal, but it’s not getting there as fast as people would like. The reason: There aren’t enough runways.
The country’s only international airport is Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. It’s tiny. It has just one runway. So it can’t accommodate all the planes flying in.
The single runway has been closed several times for earthquake repairs. Also, there are limited places for planes to park. On many days, pilots circled for hours waiting for another plane to take off because there’s no room to land.
This bottleneck has slowed the recovery effort. A terminal duty officer, who wouldn’t give his name because he’s not allowed to talk to the media, says the situation is bad: “It is a mess here. ”
That’s not the only obstacle to relief work. Some groups show up and don’t know what to do or where to go. Or how to get there.
“Even where there was no disaster here, it was just really difficult to get around,” says Lisa Rudolph, an American Red Cross worker who arrived from Washington, D.C. “Even within Kathmandu itself it can take an hour to get from one point to another. And so now with roads blocked [due to earthquake damage and] the airport congested, it’s going to be really difficult.”