Kathmandu: Miraculous pullouts of a teenaged boy and a woman alive today lifted the gloom on a rainy day while three fresh aftershocks kept people on edge, even as Nepal's Army Chief feared that the death toll in the quake could be as high as 15,000.
A long silence followed by a round of cheers went up when 15-year-old Pemba Lama was brought out of the rubble of a seven-storey building, rekindling hopes of finding more survivors while relief operations were hit due to rains and tremors measuring between 3.9 and 4.7 on the Richter Scale.
Dust-covered and dazed Lama, a resident of Nuwakot, was brought to safety after five hours of rescue operation and shifted to a hospital. The teenager was the latest miracle survivor to be rescued after a four-month-old baby who was pulled out alive from under the rubble in Bhaktapur town.
Hours later, a woman in her 30s, Krishna Devi Khadka, was rescued from earthquake rubble just streets away, reports said. She had been trapped in an area near Kathmandu's main bus terminal where there are lots of hotels.
Rescuers are still struggling to reach remote mountainous areas in the Himalayan nation, where relief efforts have been hampered by heavy rain and landslide even as global help poured in following the quake that has killed nearly 6,000 people and injured at least 11,000 others.
Helicopters could not fly due to the heavy rains in the morning as anger and frustration mounted in the country that has witnessed scenes of people clashing with police and seizing food and water supplies.
Officials have warned that they faced problems in getting aid into the country and then delivering it to some of the remote communities in desperate need.
As the rescue and relief operations have become centred in Kathmandu Valley, other affected districts remain in dire need of trained manpower to undertake search activities. Meanwhile, Nepal Army Chief General Gaurav Rana, who is leading the nationwide rescue effort, told NBC News, "Our estimates are not looking good. We are thinking that 10,000 to 15,000 may be killed."
Rana acknowledged that the massive temblor left officials struggling to cope with the aftermath ¿- including the risk of disease and growing public anger at the pace of the rescue effort. "There is unrest, and we are watching it. Yes, there is the threat of an epidemic, and we are watching it," he said.
Rana said he understood how many people "would be angry" about the government's response, stressing that the army was working with the police to "identify local hot spots and control things (politically)."
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala had on Monday stated that the death toll in the tragedy could go up to 10,000.
Ten tourists from various countries were killed in the earthquake. Four died in Kathmandu, five in Solukhumbu, and one in Makawanpur districts.
The government said rescue operations were on in full swing in Sindhupalchok, Kathmandu, Nuwakot, Dhading, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Kavrepalanchowk, Gorkha and Rasuwa.
Rescue teams from India, Sri Lanka, China, Turkey, the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, France, Israel, Malaysia and Japan have been deployed in various places of the Kathmandu Valley.
A rescue team from Britain has been deployed in Sindhupalchowk district, while nine foreign medical teams are working in various affected areas.
According to the home ministry, the Sri Lankan team rescued a youth alive from Balaju area.