Death Toll In Nepal Crosses 6,800

May 2, 2015

Authorities in Nepal now say the number of dead from a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the South Asian country a week ago has risen to 6,841, as rescue workers recover more bodies from the wreckage. More than 14,000 are reported injured.

NPR’s Russell Lewis, reporting from Kathmandu, says thousands are still missing and some 130,000 homes and buildings have been destroyed and another 10,000 buildings have been demolished, according to the government.

“Still, across Kathmandu today more people are out on the streets, businesses are reopening and trash collection is set to resume on Sunday,” Russell reports.

But there were signs that Nepal’s bureaucracy is hampering relief efforts. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the government on Friday exempted tarpaulins and ends from import duties:

“[But] UN Resident Representative Jamie McGoldrick said the government had to loosen customs restrictions further to deal with the increasing flow of relief material.”

” ‘They should not be using peacetime customs methodology,’ he said. Material was piling up at the Kathmandu airport instead of being ferried out to victims, McGoldrick said.”

“There was no immediate response from the government but Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat had appealed to international donors on Friday to send tents, tarpaulins and basic food supplies, saying some of the items received were of no use.”

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