Kathmandu: Lifting the gloom on a day marred by more aftershocks that kept people in Nepal on edge and a rising death toll that neared 7,300, rescuers on Sunday miraculously pulled out three more survivors from under the debris of their homes eight days after the quake.
Fresh aftershocks, including one measuring 4.3 on the Richter Scale, sent a fresh wave of panic among people, most of whom have been staying in the open battling bad weather and scarce food and water supplies following the country's worst earthquake in 80 years.
At least 7,271 people have been confirmed dead from the 7.9-magnitude April 25 quake while the number of injured has risen to 14,267, with Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat saying the death toll is expected to climb 'much higher'.
"The aftershocks have not receded, and we expect the final casualty numbers to climb much higher," said Mahat, portraying a desperately bleak situation in his remarks on the sidelines of an Asian Development Bank meeting in Baku. "It is with great pain and sadness that I stand before you to present the case of my country Nepal which now remains devastated," he said, adding that the quake had caused 'incalculable human loss and suffering, with millions of people rendered homeless'.
Officials said an entire village was carried away by the avalanche and many more people are believed to have died. Meanwhile, hopes of finding more survivors were rekindled as rescuers pulled out two men and a woman alive from under mounds of debris, eight days after the devastating quake struck the Himalayan nation and three days after a teenage boy and a woman were saved.
They were found near the mountainous Syauli village and have been taken to a nearby military hospital for treatment. The district -located about 60 kilometres west from Kathmandu is the worst hit by the temblor, with the highest number of casualties.
Nepal had said chances of finding survivors buried in the rubble are 'extremely slim', with Home Ministry spokesman Laxmi Dhakal saying 'it will be a miracle if anyone is found alive' though he denied that administration has given up yet and that rescue teams were continuing to look.
At least 38 Indians are among 54 foreigners killed in the quake that left a trail of devastation and suffering, flattening buildings and uprooting electric poles and trees.
Police said 51 foreigners, including 10 Indians, were injured and 82 foreign nationals were missing.