South Asia

Tens of thousands living in the open in quake-hit Nepal

A rescue dog of ISAR Germany (International Search And Rescue) searches the rubble in Kathmandu.  

The health situation in quake-hit Nepal is also complicated by the fact that tens of thousands of people are still living in the open and are too frightened to return to their homes despite the weather, which included spells of hailstorms on Tuesday.

From small parks and roadsides to large open grounds they have set up tents and are sleeping on plastic sheets on the ground. Some families are also sleeping in their cars which they have brought to these venues.

Local police estimate that about 15,000-20,000 people have been spending the night in the Tudikhel ground since the quake on Saturday. Normally used for army parades the ground is now filled with tents, some with up to 10 people inside, while the viewing stairs on either side are also filled with people under blankets huddled together. Women and children are given priority while many of the men mill around fitfully outside, taking turns to sleep. Sanitation is now the first concern as these places do not have access to proper toilet facilities. The other problem now, with the rain, is the decay of food supplies.

According to state news agency, RSS, villagers in Khokana in Lalitpur district were suffering from an outbreak of diarrhoea. According to a local school teacher, more than 100 people have received treatment for diarrhoea at a health camp organised jointly by the Nepal Army and the Bangladesh Army.

According to, 650 bodies were cremated at the Aryaghat, the cremation at the Pashupati temple complex in Kathmandu. One of the priests who helps in cremating bodies as per Hindu rites, Ashok Dhital, told the news portal that he was involved in 300 cremations on Sunday, and 200 and 150 on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

Mr. Dhital said the usual number of cremations at Aryaghat was 20 to 25 per day.

With the cremation spots unable to cope with the large number of bodies, families performed the last rites along the bank of Bagmati river which flows through the temple complex.

In the absence of official help in many cases, groups of people from the same neighbourhood have organised themselves, determined to ride out the situation. In an open ground in Limchor, near Thamel, Amir Manmalakha, a table tennis teacher, is managing supplies and a cooking operation for the 300 people camped there. “We are all from the same neighbourhood, so we have to look out for each other now ,” he says.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 7:33:38 AM |

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