Death toll in Nepal still rising as aftershocks put rescue efforts on hold

A strong 6.7 magnitude aftershock hit Nepal this morning, 25 hours after the primary quake, as the death toll continues to climb. At least 30 shocks of magnitude greater than 4.0 have been felt. Kathmandu airport which was open has been closed till 4pm local time because of the aftershocks. Rescue efforts have been put on hold while the aftershocks continue. Air Traffic Control staff have been evacuated from the airport for now.

Indian Air Force Mi-17 helicopters reached Mount Everest and began ferrying injured back to Kathmandu with the first relief flights reaching this morning. So far the IAF has deployed 5 helicopters and another 6 are on their way. It is feared that 65 mountaineers on Mt. Everest may have been killed at the base camp and in the avalanche yesterday. The aftershocks have caused at least 3 further avalanches on Everest today.

Tremors from the aftershocks have been felt in Delhi, UP, Bihar, W.Bengal, and Assam. The final toll may exceed 2,000 as rescuers reach more remote regions.

USGS:

  1. Aftershock: 6.7 magnitude, 17km S of Kodari, Nepal2015-04-26,  07:09:08 UTC, 10.0 km deep
  2. Secondary quake: 6.6 magnitude, 49km E of Lamjung, Nepal2015-04-25, 06:45:21 UTC, 14.6 km deep
  3. Primary quake: 7.8 magnitude, 34km ESE of Lamjung, Nepal, 2015-04-25, 06:11:26 UTC, 15.0 km deep

Both India and China see Nepal as being within their natural “sphere of influence” and a hint of that competition is visible as the two countries now lead the international rescue efforts. In addition to a Chinese medical team that was already in Nepal, three further medical teams from neighboring Sichuan, Chongqing and Yunnan have gone to Tibet.

Xinhua:A 62-strong China International Search & Rescue Team left for Nepal early Sunday. With six sniffer dogs and relevant rescue and medical equipment, the team is expected to arrive in Kathmandu midday Sunday on a chartered plane, according to the China Earthquake Administration.

India sent two relief planes of air force to disaster-struck zones hours after the quake took place. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up his Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koirala, and assured him of all help. Two military aircraft, a C-130 Hercules and a C17 Globemaster, took off from the Hindon air base in Delhi to Kathmandu with relief workers, medicines and blankets, said Press Trust of India.

Disaster teams from the UK, US and Israel are already on their way as well and many other countries have offered assistance.

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