Red tape delays Nepal quake disaster aid

2015-05-03 07:58
(Image: Niranjan Shrestha, AP)

(Image: Niranjan Shrestha, AP)

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Kathmandu - The UN's humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, has said she is "extremely concerned" that Nepal's customs authorities are slowing the delivery of earthquake aid, as the death toll from the disaster crossed 7 000 on Sunday.

After the government ruled out finding more survivors buried in the ruins of the capital Kathmandu, the focus was shifting to delivering aid to families and others in far-flung areas of the devastated nation.

Amos said she was worried the foreign aid pouring into Nepal in the wake of the impoverished country's deadliest earthquake in more than 80 years was being held up by red tape.

Death and destruction

"I was extremely concerned to hear reports that customs was taking such a long time," said Amos, explaining she had asked Prime Minister Sushil Koirala to speed up customs clearance for aid materials.

"He has undertaken to ensure that happens, so I hope that from now we will see an improvement in those administrative issues."

The 7.8-magnitude quake wreaked a trail of death and destruction when it erupted eight days ago, reducing much of Kathmandu to rubble and even triggering a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest.

The death toll from the disaster has hit 7 040, according to the Emergency Operations Centre, with more than 14 000 injured. More than 100 were also killed in India and China.

Although multiple teams of rescuers from more than 20 countries have been using sniffer dogs and heat-seeking equipment to find survivors in the rubble, none has been pulled out alive since Thursday evening.

Shortage of tents

"Rescue operations are still under way, but focus has shifted to providing relief," said home ministry spokesperson Laxmi Prasad Dhakal.

"Many far flung villages have been affected," he said, adding that there was still an "acute shortage" of tents for the hundreds of thousands left homeless.

Planes loaded with relief supplies from around the world were pouring into landlocked Nepal, but there have been numerous reports of many getting stuck at Kathmandu's small international airport, and even customs officials stopping trucks filled with aid from crossing into the country from neighbouring India.

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

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