Kathmandu (dpa) – Rescue work is almost complete after last week’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake, Nepalese authorities said Sunday, even as four people confounded the odds to emerge alive eight days after the disaster.
Funchu Tamang, 105, a resident of Nuwakot district was among those pulled out alive from the rubble, police said.
Three other people were rescued in Sindupalchowk district, one of the worst hit districts, where more than 2,000 died in the April 25 temblor.
Relief has poured in from multiple quarters. Nonetheless, most Nepalis are having trouble finding shelter.
“The immediate problem is … providing shelter to about half a million people,” Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat told an Asian Development Bank meeting in Azerbaijan on the disaster.
“The monsoons are coming in less than two months, pre-monsoon rains are already here, and it will be another disaster if we cannot provide tents and requisite supplies over the next week or so.”
More than 300,000 houses were partially or completely destroyed across the country, according to the Interior Ministry. In many areas, whole villages or communities have been turned into rubble.
“We have run out of tents. The government does not have any more tents to give to people. We are hoping [to] receive 100,000 tents tomorrow,” Interior Ministry spokesman Laxmi Dhakal said.
Dhakal said the government was also preparing to tell international rescue missions that rushed to the region to help that they can now leave, while Nepal takes care of the remaining search and rescue operation.
“We have done our best to coordinate with the government here, and we are amazed by the resilience of the Nepali people in the face of this disaster,” OP Singh, director general of the National Disaster Response Force of India, told dpa.
On Sunday, life was slowly getting back to normal in Nepal after a week of fear and uncertainty amid repeated aftershocks.
People returned to offices, markets began to open and people involved themselves in cleaning up of their homes and neighbourhoods.
“People are still scared. Sometimes, when I am sitting in my shop, I feel like the earth below me is moving. It’s just fear,” Subash Maharjan , a vegetable vendor said.
Schools and universities were to remain closed until mid-May.
Nepalese engineers and architects had started inspecting houses, with the goal of helping people to return to their homes in urban centres.
Up north, most climbers have abandoned their Everest expedition in the aftermath of a major avalanche triggered by the earthquake.
“Most of the teams have already abandoned now, while some of the members of the teams that are still in the Everest region are also leaving,” said Gyanendra Shrestha, an official with the Mountaineering Division of the Tourism Ministry.