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Nepal quake toll rises above 3,700

Nepalese Army personnel with a sniffer dog search for victims amidst the rubble of collapsed houses after Saturday’s earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal on Monday. – UNI
 KATHMANDU, April 27 – Hit by severe shortage of food, water, electricity and medicines and buffeted by fear, tens of thousands of people are out in the open here as quake-hit Nepal today desperately sought international help to tide over a looming crisis with the death toll soaring to over 3,700, reports PTI.

 More than 48 hours after the 7.9 magnitude temblor shook the Himalayan nation, injuring more than 8,000 people and leaving thousands more homeless, multi-nation rescue teams, including from India, carried out relief works.

Armed with modern equipment, dumpers and earth removers and aided by sniffer dogs, disaster relief workers were trying to locate possible survivors against fading hopes.

The quake that flattened homes and buildings and the subsequent powerful aftershocks, forced people out to live in the open under plastic tents barely shielding them from cold and rains that pounded the city last night.

Fuel and medicines were also in short supply. The picture was the same in suburbs of Kathmandu and in other rural areas.

Nepal’s top bureaucrat Leela Mani Paudel said the immediate and big challenge was relief. “We urge foreign countries to give us special relief materials and medical teams. We are really desperate for more foreign expertise to pull through this crisis,” he said.

“We are appealing for tents, dry goods, blankets, mattresses, and 80 different medicines that we desperately need now,” he told a press conference.

Nepal does not have helicopters or the expertise to rescue survivors. It needs help in the form of orthopaedic doctors, nerve specialists, anaesthetists, surgeons and paramedics, Paudel said.

Hundreds of people are still trapped under tonnes of rubble in capital Kathmandu and some of the worst-affected remote mountainous areas amid concerns that the toll could cross the 5,000 mark, authorities said.

“The death toll in Nepal from the earthquake that struck two days ago has risen to 3,726,” Nepalese Police spokesman Kamal Singh Bam said today.

The home ministry’s disaster management division said nearly 7,000 people were injured. While 1,053 people were reported killed in Kathmandu Valley alone, 875 lost their lives in Sindhupalchowk.

Officials and aid agencies have warned that the casualties could rise as rescue teams reach remote mountainous areas of western Nepal.

The blocked roads, downed power lines and overcrowded hospitals along with fresh tremors are hampering rescue efforts to locate survivors of the quake.

More than 700 disaster relief experts drawn from the National Disaster Relief Force have been deployed by India.

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