157 people died in Nepal earthquake
Nepal's authorities on Sunday scrambled to rush aid to people affected by Friday's earthquake that has killed at least 157 people and left a trail of destruction in the Himalayan nation's remote mountainous region. The earthquake with an epicentre in Jajarkot district, about 500km west of Kathmandu, was recorded just before midnight on Friday. As the earthquake destroyed hundreds of houses in the mountainous region, several people had to spend Saturday night under the open sky.
Out of a total of 157 people who died in the tragedy, the bodies of 120 have so far been handed over to the family members. About 253 people were injured in the quake, the most devastating in the country since 2015.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' is holding a Cabinet meeting to decide on a special relief package for the survivors of the earthquake.
The government on Saturday said it is not in a hurry to seek foreign help for search and rescue operations and in the management of relief distribution and other logistics in the wake of the devastating earthquake in western Nepal, particularly Jajarkot and West Rukum districts.
In the aftermath of the disaster, Nepal's immediate neighbours, India and China, and the United States have offered support with logistics, and search for the victims by sending rescue teams to the country.
"We are yet to make any decision on accepting foreign aid," Prachanda said on Saturday as he visited the earthquake-affected areas.
"There will be a Cabinet meeting on Sunday morning for those decisions," he said. "We will then speed up relief and rehabilitation operations." The government on Saturday evening decided to send relief materials like blankets, clothing and food items starting Sunday. The distribution of relief materials donated by the different agencies will also be carried out.
Local government officials say the situation was chaotic on Saturday morning due to inadequate means to deal with the disaster.
Harischandra Sharma, assistant chief district officer in Jajarkot, said the under-resourced and poorly equipped district hospital was struggling.
"The hospital lacks both human resources and equipment to deal with a huge number of victims. We were struggling to cope with things on Saturday morning," he told the Kathmandu Post newspaper.
The situation has largely come under control with more doctors and medical teams arriving from Kathmandu and Surkhet, he said.
"The people have been compelled to live in the cold under the open sky after they lost their houses to the disaster. Supporting them with relief materials should be our major focus. We are working to this effect," Sharma said.
Suresh Sunar, the Chief District Officer of Jajarkot, has confirmed that the rescue operations for earthquake victims have been completed, and relief distribution will commence on Sunday.
He said that rescue efforts had been ongoing since Friday night, but they were successfully concluded by Saturday night, allowing relief distribution to begin on Sunday.
Sunar also said that over 1,000 households have been affected, resulting in millions worth of damage.
He added that preparations have been made to streamline the relief distribution process through a one-door system. Jajarkot suffered the most damage in the earthquake that occurred on Friday night, with 105 casualties reported in Jajarkot alone.
A team of seismological experts at National Earthquake Monitoring and Research Center, Lainchaur has reached Jajarkot to carry out further study and research on the earthquake that occurred on Friday night.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)