Nepal stares its worst ever natural disaster, 4500 killed

Rajat Kain

earthquke_buildNepal is preparing itself for the biggest ever natural calamity in its history as authorities have tipped that the casualties may cross even 10,000 deaths. It would be higher than the casualties caused by the 1934 massive earthquake which had left 8,500 dead. That has been Nepal’s worst disaster to date.

Speaking to a foreign press, Prime Minister of Nepal Sushil Koirala told “The government is doing all it can for rescue and relief on a war footing”.

The Prime Minister also assured that an all-round rescue effort has been intensified to save as many lives as possible. He also appealed for foreign supplies of tents and medicines as many people are still battling elements and the odds spending their lives out in open.

The authorities have declared that more than 4,400 are killed, even as thousands struggle with wounds.

“The government needs tents, much medicine. People are sleeping in fields and rains… There are more than 7,000 people injured. Their treatment and rehabilitation is going to be a big challenge.” Mr. Koirala added in his interview.

The situation remains extremely challenging with authorities struggling to get relief and rescue work pick its pace. Strong aftershocks, rains and poor telephone network has made task all the more challenging. The shortage of electricity has also added to the vows and especially to that of the hospitals where injured are being brought at a rapid rate. Medical workers and paramedics too are struggling with the supplies of essential drugs and dressings.

India has taken a lead in coming to the aid of Himalayan neighbour with a quick dispatch of military helicopters, teams of NDRF, supply of drinking water, food and medicines. Cloths and other relief material too is been sent to Nepal on regular basis. Lot of social network and public forums too have been taking initiatives to contribute in relief fund.

Besides China, United States and Canada too have chipped in with monetary and military aid for rescue and relief.

But the authorities have confirmed that there are several areas outside the capital Kathmandu where the relief and rescue work is yet to begin. The broken roads and an extremely battered communication network have hampered the logistics.

The delay in relief and rescue in outer areas has sparked off apprehensions of toll rising further. Also, the delay in supply of essential commodity, food and medicines may also hit the residents outside of Kathmandu hard.

Back in the capital city, spreading of the diseases is also feared as hospital continue to be overflowed with the victims, injured and even the dead bodies. The alarming rate of water, food and medicine shortage may also add to fears of waterborne diseases.

Facing criticism from citizens about the slow pace of relief work, the Prime Minister Sushil Koirala admitted that operations following the devastating quake of Saturday were not effective.

The “rescue, relief and search operations have not been effective”, Koirala said. “The lack of development in institutions has had a severe impact in calamities management so that we couldn’t make it happen as we thought.”

However, Indian NDRF continues to its rescue effort even as it faced logistic and terrain constraints.

A very high intensity earthquake measuring 7.9-magnitude on Richter scale had hit Nepal on Saturday morning followed by the aftershocks measuring 6.8-magnitude just a day later and heavy rains.