Situation fragile in Nepal; rough weather affects relief

Rajat Kain

Earthquake3

The situation remains extremely fragile with powerful aftershocks of the intensity 6.8 on Richter scale and heavy rains throughout Sunday leading to halting of relief and rescue work in Kathmandu and other areas impacted by Saturday’s tremors.

More than 3,600 people have been declared dead after a massive earthquake devastated Nepal and upper Northern Bihar on Saturday. More than 6,000 people have been wounded, with many reported to be critical. The casualties on Indian side are much lower with 65 deaths, of which 51 are from Bihar alone.

The aftershocks on Sunday were felt as far in the national capital Delhi as well.

But Nepal remains shaken with thousands of residents in capital Kathmandu continue to remain outdoors and spending their night in extreme challenge under the makeshift tents, even as several countries pour in their share for relief work. An emergency has been declared in Nepal.

India has taken a lead with several teams of NDRF, relief squads, special aircrafts of army and road transport deployed in the rescue and relief work. Nearly 2000 Indian nationals stuck in Nepal were brought back with the help of military vehicles.

NDRF DG, OP Singh talked about the relief operations in Nepal and said, “We have 10 teams right now in Kathmandu scattered over the Kathmandu Valley…We are deploying one team at the Kathmandu airport, assisting in evacuating Indians.”

Singh also said that they were trying to reach people from outside Kathmandu.
“Yesterday, because of aftershocks and incessant rains, operations were affected. Rescue operations resumed today,” he told

The Government of India further intensified their effort to help the ravaged Himalayan neighbour with more than 50 tonnes of drinking water, food items, blankets, medicines and even portable field hospital apparatus dispatched through the armed forces.

According to the weather experts, so far 55 aftershocks have been observed with the latest being on Sunday night at around 9:56 pm an aftershock of magnitude 5.3. More tremors are expected, though the intensity may vary.

The continued tremors have hampered rescue efforts to locate survivors trapped under tonnes of rubble of flattened homes and buildings.

“The death toll has reached 3,218 and over 6,500 are injured,” said Rameshwor Dangal, head of the home ministry’s national disaster management division. Officials said five Indians, including the daughter of an Indian embassy employee, were among those killed in the quake.

The situation has been aggravated by continued power cuts and a very thin cell phone network, which is now believed to be at a breaking point. However, there is a bit of relief with some shops opening up today morning as the rains stopping at some places. But the vows for the survivors remain unabated.

“We are making our own facilities, helping ourselves. There is no help from the government. There is no water. We picked up whatever we could and came here,” many locals echoed.

The airport too witnessed a chaotic scenario with many passengers stranded as the flight operations suffered due to closure of the airport. On Sunday afternoon, as the strong aftershocks rocked the city, ATC at Kathmandu airport was rendered non-operational with staffers scurrying for a cover after the evacuation. A private airlines flight carrying many journalists and a foreign press pack could only land Kathmandu 9 hours after it departed Delhi. It was forced to even come back to Delhi and landed in the midst of gusty rains on Sunday evening.