The Latest on Nepal: Quake death toll climbs past 6,600
9 a.m. (0315 GMT)
A week after a massive earthquake hit Nepal, police say the death toll from the disaster has climbed past 6,600.
The deputy inspector general of Kathmandu police, Kamal Singhbam, said Saturday that 6,624 people died in the April 25 earthquake.
He said 14,025 people were injured in the magnitude-7.8 quake, the worst to hit Nepal in 80 years.
Efforts are ongoing to retrieve bodies from the rubble, though hopes have faded for finding anyone still alive.
— Nirmala George, New Delhi
8:15 p.m. (1400 GMT)
Nepal is renewing its appeal to international donors to send tents and tarpaulins for temporary shelter along with grain, salt and sugar. The government also asked donors to send money to help with relief efforts if they cannot send things that are immediately necessary after last weekend’s devastating earthquake.
“We have received things like tuna fish and mayonnaise. What good are those things for us? We need grains, salt and sugar,” Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat told reporters Friday.
Mahat said the government has decided to exempt taxes on tents and tarpaulins.
Information Minister Minendra Rijal said Nepal would immediately need 400,000 tents and so far has only been able to provide 29,000 to the people who need them.
8:15 p.m. (1400 GMT)
A European Union official says some 1,000 Europeans in Nepal had not reached out to their embassies since the powerful earthquake there over the weekend.
The EU’s Ambassador to Nepal Rensje Teerink told reporters Friday that “of course doesn’t mean they are dead. It just means they haven’t reported back.”
Most of the people not accounted for were tourists and trekkers and it’s near impossible to keep track because most do not register with their embassies.
7:30 p.m. (1315 GMT)
The U.N. humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos told reporters at the U.N. compound in Nepal’s capital that aid workers face “immense logistical challenges” trying to get aid to mountainside villages where helicopters couldn’t land and where some roads were destroyed.
Amos saw some of the isolated Himalayan villages by air Friday during her visit to the country hit by an earthquake April 25 that caused more than 6,200 deaths. “Of course we are worried that it is taking so long to get to people who desperately need aid. Some of those villages are virtually flattened. But it’s very, very hard to see how we’re going to get to them,” she said.
While the helicopters could deliver aid to places within walking distances that would do little to help the injured who need to get to hospitals.
Nepalese leaders and outsiders were working to get aid to those in need. But the scale of the devastation, she said, would challenge any government.
The U.N. humanitarian office says more than 130,000 houses were reported destroyed.
— Foster Klug, Kathmandu, Nepal
3:15 p.m. (0930 GMT)
The World Health Organization says a quick assessment of Nepal’s worst-hit districts has found some hospitals damaged or destroyed but most are coping well with no extra staff or beds required. However, they are in need of essential medicines, equipment and materials.
The WHO says the Nepalese health system took measures to prepare for such emergencies.
The agency says it is focused on preventing the possible spread of diarrhoeal diseases among at least 2.8 million displaced people, especially those living in 16 makeshift camps in Kathmandu. So far, the number of cases has not exceeded expectations and no camps have reported an increase in disease or any outbreaks.
— Jerry Harmer, Kathmandu, Nepal
1:50 p.m. (0805 GMT)
A day after two people were pulled alive from underneath the earthquake rubble, Nepali rescuers in orange jumpsuits and wearing masks and hardhats are working amid piles of debris — bricks, broken slabs of concrete, wooden floorboards, a mangled ceiling fan.
Most of the time they find themselves in a dark warren of wrecked buildings, some of which are still standing only because their fall has been broken by other buildings in the packed quarters.
Some break bricks with sledgehammers, some build small walls with bricks under a building’s exposed foundation, which has been partially stabilized with wood and cement.
A generator runs noisily with cords snaking into the narrow passageways where others labor with tools and other machinery to search for any additional survivors.
At a nearby command center, exhausted soldiers and rescuers sit in the shade, some sleeping, near tools and other equipment laid out in neat rows with a sign that reads “logistics.”
— Foster Klug, Kathmandu, Nepal
1:15 p.m. (0730 GMT)
Members of the British army Gurkha engineers are back in their native Nepal to help restore water supply in the capital.
One of them, the 34-year-old Cpl. Besh Gurung, says he has been away from Nepal for 13 years and now is glad “I could serve my countrymen when they really needed something so necessary like clean drinking water.”
Nearly 2,000 people in tented camps and the Nepalese soldiers stationed in the former royal palace area are the immediate beneficiaries.
Gurkhas have been part of the British military for over two centuries, and have fought in the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands of young men from the poverty-stricken Himalayan hills still apply to join the force every year.
— Binaj Gurubacharya, Kathmandu, Nepal