Nepal quake toll reaches 8,635, over 300 missing

From Shirish B Pradhan Kathmandu, May 23: The death toll following the two devastating earthquakes that have struck Nepal has reached 8,635 with over 300 people, including 89 foreigners, still missing.

At least 79 foreigners, including 49 Indians have been killed in the devastating earthquakes, according to a statement by the Nepal police. About 240 Nepalese nationals and 89 foreigners have still been missing since the April 25 earthquake, police said.

Nepal quake toll reaches 8,635

Of the total number of foreign military personnel deployed from 18 countries for rescue and search operations, 2,509 people, including 851 Indians, have already left the country after completing their assignments. However, 1,807 foreign military personnel, including 564 Indians, are in the process of returning to their home countries, according to a statement by the Nepal Army.

The 7.9-magnitude earthquake which struck Nepal on April 25 and another measuring 7.3 on the Richter Scale on May 12 have left 8,635 people dead, 21,845 injured and destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of houses. Five aftershocks measuring between 4 to 5 on the Richter Scale were recorded yesterday. Over 255 aftershocks of over 4 magnitude have been recorded in the country since the April 25 earthquake.

Eight MI-17 helicopters and five ALH choppers from India, 3 MI-17 choppers from China, 3 UH1Y and 4 MV-228 choppers from the US have conducted their flights in search and rescue works, airlifting injured people, managing debris and supplying relief materials to various earthquake-hit areas.

Meanwhile, Nepal is facing a crunch of labourers in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of April 25 as some 20,000 Nepali migrant labourers have left the country in the past one month.

After two earthquakes and a series of aftershocks, a large number of migrant workers have again started returning to foreign countries, which makes it difficult for the government to implement its plan to employ around 1,00,000 volunteers in rebuilding the quake affected districts, experts said.

Kathmandu, the capital city is also facing labour crunch as many skilled and semi-skilled Indian nationals, who were working in different service sectors have returned to their homes after the earthquake.

There is a shortage of barbers, plumbers, vegetable vendors and carpenters in Kathmandu these days as most of the labourers come from across the border, mainly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.


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