The death toll in Nepal’s earthquake could reach 10,000, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has said, as survivors’ despair turned to anger at the government’s slow response to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the country, with food, water and other essentials in desperately short supply. “The government is doing all it can for rescue and relief on a war footing,” Koirala said in an interview with Reuters. “It is a challenge and a very difficult hour for Nepal.” The death toll in Nepal alone rose to 5,057 on Tuesday, according to the country’s Emergency Operation Centre, which said more than 10,000 people have been injured. There are warnings the full extent of the tragedy will not be known until rescue teams have reached “flattened” villages in remote regions.“The death toll could go up to 10,000 because information from remote villages hit by the earthquake is yet to come in,” Koirala said.
In neighbouring India 61 people were killed and China’s official Xinhua News Agency said 25 people had died in Tibet. Eighteen others were killed in avalanches on Mount Everest.Another avalanche hit a village in the district of Rasuwa, north of Kathmandu, on Tuesday, leaving up to 250 people missing. Ghodatabela, about a 12-hour walk from the nearest town, is along a popular trekking route, but it was not clear if the missing included trekkers. Health workers said they feared a major health crisis was unfolding among survivors of the quake who are living in the open or in overcrowded tents with no access to sanitation or clean water. On Tuesday helicopters crisscrossed the skies above Gorkha, close to the epicentre of Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 quake, ferrying the injured to clinics and taking emergency supplies back to remote villages. Aid workers who had reached the region described entire villages reduced to rubble. “In some villages, about 90% of the houses have collapsed. They’re just flattened,” said Rebecca McAteer, an American physician. Udav Prashad Timalsina, the top official for Gorkha, warned that people were not getting food and shelter. MORE