Nepalese dig with bare hands for quake survivors

2015-04-26 08:36
Rescuers use a makeshift stretcher to carry an injured person after an avalanche triggered by an earthquake flattened parts of Everest Base Camp.  (Roberto Schmidt, AFP)

Rescuers use a makeshift stretcher to carry an injured person after an avalanche triggered by an earthquake flattened parts of Everest Base Camp. (Roberto Schmidt, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kathmandu - Rescuers dug with their bare hands and bodies piled up in Nepal on Sunday after an earthquake devastated the heavily crowded Kathmandu valley, killing at least 1 900 and triggered a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest.

Army officer Santosh Nepal and a group of rescuers worked all night to open a passage into a collapsed building in the capital Kathmandu. They had to use pick axes because bulldozers could not get through the ancient city's narrow streets.

"We believe there are still people trapped inside," he said, pointing at concrete debris and twisted reinforcement rods where a three-storey residential building once stood.

In Everest's worst disaster, the bodies of 17 climbers were recovered from the mountain on Sunday after being caught in avalanches, but hundreds, many injured, remain stranded on the mountain.

Pulled from the ruins

With the government overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster, India flew in medical supplies and relief crews, while China sent in a 60-strong emergency team.

Among the capital's landmarks destroyed in the earthquake was the 60m Dharahara Tower, built in 1832 for the queen of Nepal, with a viewing balcony that had been open to visitors for the last 10 years.

A jagged stump was all that was left of the lighthouse-like structure. As bodies were pulled from the ruins on Saturday, a policeman said up to 200 people had been trapped inside.

Bodies were still arriving on Sunday morning at one hospital in Kathmandu, where police officer Sudan Shreshtha said his team had brought 166 corpses overnight.

"I am tired and exhausted, but I have to work and have the strength," Shreshtha said as an ambulance brought three more victims to the Tribhuvan University teaching hospital.

Some buildings in Kathmandu toppled like houses of cards, others leaned at precarious angles, and partial collapses exposed living rooms to with furniture in place and belongings stacked on shelves.

Busy time for tourism

Rescuers, some wearing face masks to keep out the dust from collapsed buildings, scrambled over mounds of splintered timber and broken bricks in the hope of finding survivors. Some used their bare hands to fill small white buckets with dirt and rock.

Thousands of people spent the night outside in freezing temperatures and patchy rain, too afraid to return to their damaged homes.

On Sunday, survivors wandered the streets clutching flimsy bed rolls and blankets, while others sat in the street cradling their children, surrounded by a few plastic bags of belongings.

The 7.9 magnitude quake struck at midday on Saturday at a busy time of year for the tourism-reliant country's trekking and climbing season, with an estimated 300,000 foreign tourists in the country.

Nepal's police put the death toll at 1,910, with 4,625 injured. At least 700 were killed in the capital, a city of about 1 million people where many homes are old, flimsy and packed close together.

Read more on:    nepal  |  earthquakes  |  nepal earthquake  |  natural disasters

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.