Nepal urgently needs tents, dry food, medicines

Kathmandu: The Nepal government urgently needs tents, dry food, mattresses, medicines and other basic essentials to distribute to its people who are in dire need of relief and support after Saturday's major earthquake and Sunday's aftershocks, a senior official said here on Monday.

At a press conference in capital Kathmandu, Nepal Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal said the government has requested India, China and other foreign countries to provide more assistance to Nepal, Xinhua news agency reported.

People walk past damage caused by Saturday's earthquake in Bhaktapur, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, on Monday. Pic/AP/PTI

The remarks came as tens of thousands of people in the Himalayan nation continued to spend chilly nights in the open for the past two days and were seeking basic essentials following the devastating earthquake on Saturday and a strong aftershock on Sunday afternoon.

"We are not able to distribute enough drinking water, dry food, mattresses, and medicines to the earthquake victims in such a difficult situation," the chief secretary said, adding that the government was doing its best to conduct rescue operations with speed.

But he conceded that the government was unable to send rescue teams to the far-flung villages of the country given the bad weather and difficult topography.

People have been living without electricity for the past two days since the 7.9-magnitude quake jolted central, western, mid-western and far-western regions of the Himalayan nation. The chief secretary said electricity supply could only be resumed on Tuesday at the earliest.

With communications yet to be restored, the Nepal government was yet unable to determine the number of houses destroyed in the earthquake and the extent of damage to other property.

"We don't have exact data of damaged houses and properties inside and outside the capital in the earthquake. It is our preliminary estimation that the number of houses damaged is 10 times higher than that of deaths and injured people," the chief secretary said.

Home ministry spokesperson Laxmi Prasad Dhakal told Xinhua the government was giving top priority to rescue operations in 11 badly affected districts -- Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Rasuwa, Dhading, Gorkha, Sindhuli, Ramechhap, Sindhupalchowk, Lamjung and Kavrepalanchowk.

The Nepal government on Monday established five hotline numbers for hearing public grievances and opened six banking accounts if anyone wanted to donate to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund.

Helpline Numbers

Indian embassy in Kathmandu: +977 9851107021, 9851135141
Police emergency number: 4228435/4226853 
Metropolitan police range: +977 4261945/ (Kathmandu) +977 4261790 
Metropolitan police range (Lalitpur): +977 5521207
Metropolitan police range (Bhaktapur): +977 6614821 
Paropkar Ambulance service: +977 4260859 
Lalitpur Red Cross ambulance service: +977 5545666 
Bishal Bazaar Ambulance service: +977 4244121 
Red Cross ambulance service: +977 4228094

Indian MEA 24-hr helpline numbers
+91 11 2301 2113
+91 11 2301 4104
+91 11 2301 7905

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