Kathmandu, May 6: Emergency workers have recovered the bodies of 60 people including nine foreigners who were killed when Nepal's earthquake triggered a mudslide that buried a village in the scenic Langtang Valley popular with tourists.
Residents of the village, also called Langtang, said today that as many as 200 people could have been killed by tons of earth and mud unleashed in the devastating April 25 quake.
"The entire village was wiped out by the mudslide. There were some 60 houses there, but they were all buried under rubble. It will be impossible to recover all the bodies," said Gautam Rimal, the top government official in the Rasuwa district.
The Langtang Valley, about 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, is now about a two-day hike from the nearest town because the landslide has blocked nearby roads. While helicopters allow easy access, they remain in short supply because of aid missions across parts of Nepal.
The April 25 earthquake killed more than 7,500 people and injured more than 14,000 as it flattened mountain villages and destroyed buildings and archaeological sites in Kathmandu. Authorities say up to one-third of Kathmandu's residents have left since the quake.
In the first days, bus stations were jammed with people fearing aftershocks or trying to get home to relatives in devastated villages. Today, there were still people waiting for buses to leave. "I stayed back here to help out my neighbors and clean up the neighborhood," said Surya Singh, who was at a large bus station.
But now he wants to see the damage in his home village, although with many roads still blocked by landslides, he was unsure if he could get all the way by bus. Kathmandu police say nearly 900,000 people have left in the past 10 days.
The earthquake has killed more than 7,500 people and injured more than 14,000
The population of Kathmandu valley including the city of Kathmandu and smaller towns of Lalitpur and Bhaktapur is 2.5 million. Life has been returning to normal in Kathmandu. Schools are to remain closed until May 14 but some markets are open and trucks have been bringing in fresh food daily.
Foreign aid is expected to play a big role in rebuilding the impoverished nation after the quake. Today, USAID announced USD 11 million in assistance for emergency shelter materials, medical supplies, safe drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene kits for the most critical districts.
The American aid agency's acting administrator, Alfonso Lenhardt, is visiting earthquake-hit areas and said the additional aid brings the total US commitment to about USD 26 million. The US also has sent airplanes with relief materials and rescue workers.
The spokesman for the UN secretary-general, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters that logistical hubs are being set up in five additional districts to support the delivery of humanitarian aid.
"The distribution of more than 2,000 tons of food has also begun across 15 districts," he said.
The World Health Organization says temporary field hospitals have been set up in five locations in Kathmandu and in five locations outside the capital, Dujarric said.