3 South Africans may still be missing in Nepal

2015-05-05 18:56
(Niranjan Shrestha, AP)

(Niranjan Shrestha, AP)

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Kathmandu - Nepal’s Armed Police Force (APF) has revealed that as many as three South Africans may still be missing in earthquake-ravaged Nepal, with the official death toll rising to 7 493. 

APF Deputy Inspector General Baburam Pandey said that according to their statistics from a central co-ordination centre, the three were among 105 that remained unaccounted for. 

Speaking to News24, Pandey said that due to the difficult terrain in the the mountainous districts, some villages were completely buried by landslides. 

The popular tourist destination of Langtang was completely levelled by a landslide, killing nearly 100 people. 

"We have been all over the country, but there are some places that have been completely covered by landslides and we are certain that in these areas we will still find bodies. 

“There were considerable limitations to our rescue efforts, considering the adverse terrain of the country. In the northern regions almost 90% of all structures were destroyed and realistically it was chaos. We brought all the resources we could to bear, which was 130 000 men and women in total,” he said. 

“The people were very frightened, especially considering Kathmandu’s population of four million it was chaos in the city.

"Their houses were cracking and some were completely demolished and we immediately started with the rescue effort. The earthquake struck at exactly 11:56 and within two hours we had mobilised teams of army and police and established a co-ordinating centre,” Pandey said. 

“Initially we used the few helicopters from the Nepalese army that we had before we started to get help from other countries. This was never something we could predict and while we planned as much as we could for it, what was written on paper was very different to the implementation,” he said. 

Nepal teeters on the brink of a healthcare crisis, with Pandey confirming 6 082 of the 14 371 injured remained in need of medical care. 

Department of International Relations spokesperson Nelson Kgwete said all South African citizens that were on its list were accounted for.

"However, that list is not conclusive. It is possible that there are more citizens in Nepal," he said, adding that the department's list was only based on the names of people that were reported to the department.  

Read more on:    nepal  |  nepal earthquake

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