Fresh avalanches force workers to call off search in Nepal

By , on May 12, 2015


KATHMANDU, Nepal — Fresh avalanches forced rescuers in a village buried by a landslide in northern Nepal to stop searching for bodies in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, officials said Sunday.

The avalanches on Friday and Saturday made the work dangerous for police and army rescuers, and they moved to higher and safer ground, said government administrator Gautam Rimal.

Weather conditions also deteriorated with continuing rainfall and fog, he said.

The April 25 earthquake killed more than 8,000 people and injured more than 16,000 others, as it flattened mountain villages and destroyed buildings and archaeological sites in the Himalayan region.

So far, 120 bodies have been recovered from Langtang Valley, a scenic village on a popular trekking route located about 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.

Among the bodies were those of nine foreigners, and it was still not clear how many people were buried in the village that was covered by a mudslide set loose by the magnitude-7.8 quake.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been left homeless and are still living in tent camps scattered across central and northern Nepal.

About 1,000 of them lined up outside a camp in Bhaktapur, a suburb east of Kathmandu, on Sunday to get a small sack of food and supplies.

“I have been standing in the line for hours so I can pick up food for my family. I am living with my parents, my wife, children and brothers in the open and are totally dependent on these relief materials,” said Ramesh Boyaju, 27, a transport worker who has been without job for two weeks.

Another resident, Rupesh Sayaju, said the quake reduced his four-story house to 1 ½ floors. “We were staying on the ground floor of the damaged house but it flooded last night. Now we have no place to go. We are now in the open,” he said.

People waiting in line received a sack of rice, lentils, cooking oil, toothpaste, brush and a towel by members of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, one of the many international organizations that have been working to help people in Nepal.

U.N. officials say the international response to the humanitarian crisis has been slow, with hundreds of thousands of people in need of shelter before monsoon rains begin next month.

The U.N. estimates that as many as 8 million people have been affected by the earthquake.