"The death toll has reached 6,624," said the home ministry's national disaster management division. A further 14,025 people were injured in the quake, it added. A fresh 4.5-magnitude aftershock this morning triggered panic among the people, who scrambled for open spaces.
The 7.9-magnitude quake last week left a trail of devastation and suffering, with people spending the cold night in the open because of fears of fresh quake. Nepal's remote mountainous areas have suffered "almost total devastation" from the powerful quake, aid agencies have warned, even as relief slowly began to reach far-flung regions amid fresh aftershocks that kept people on edge.
International humanitarian bodies have called for greater urgency in relief efforts. "One of our teams that returned from Chautara in Sindupalchowk district reported that 90 per cent of the homes are destroyed. The hospital has collapsed, and people are digging through the rubble with their hands in the hope that they might find family members who are still alive," said Jagan Chapagain, Director of Asia Pacific with the IFRC.
"We can expect the situation to be the same if not worse in many other places where aid has not yet been delivered," Chapagain said. There are estimates that up to 40,000 homes in Sindupalchowk alone have been destroyed, the International Federation of Red Cross said in a statement.
Also, over 1,000 EU citizens are still unaccounted for in Himalayan Nepal, diplomats said yesterday. The Europeans had mostly been climbing in the avalanche-hit Mt Everest region and trekking in the remote Langtang range near the epicentre of the quake.