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Modi Shares Nepal’s Grief

Rescuers on dug with bare hands and heavy equipment through tonnes of rubble for survivors as toll from the devastating temblor crossed the 2,400-mark in Nepal’s worst quake in over 80 years, with fresh aftershocks triggering panic and hampering relief efforts.

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Authorities put the death toll in Nepal at 2,460, and police said 6,492 were hurt. At least 1,100 were killed in the capital, a city of about 1 million people where many homes are old, poorly built and packed close together.

Some 66 people were reported killed in neighbouring India. The aftershock rocked buildings in the Indian capital New Delhi and halted the city metro. In Tibet, the death toll climbed to 18, according to a tweet
from China’s state news agency, Xinhua. Four people were killed in Bangladesh.

To make matter worse, there is prediction of heavy rain and thundershowers in next 24 hours which is likely to only hamper the rescue work.  “Weather Forecasting Centre of Indian Meteorological Department has predicted fairly widespread rain/ thundershower activity over Nepal during next the 24 hours. “The activity is most likely to become widespread on April 27 and 28 with the possibility of isolated heavy thunderstorm activity, particularly over eastern part of Nepal,” the Ministry of Earth Science said in a release.

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In both India and Nepal, many people are spending sleepless night in the open sky fearing aftershocks.

India launches Operation Maitri 

Scaling up relief and rescue efforts in quake-hit Nepal that was named ‘Operation Maitri’, India on Sunday deployed two dozen military aircraft and choppers and was also undertaking a “big evacuation” through the road route.

As a top Indian official described the situation in the Himalayan nation as “very, very serious”, nearly 1,000 trained personnel of the National Disaster Response Force(NDRF) were also pressed into service after Nepal was struck on Saturday by the worst earthquake in 80 years, killing over 460 people. A slew of steps were also taken for speedy evacuation of stranded tourists including goodwill visas to foreigners and mobilising buses and ambulances to bring them by road. Over 1,000 people have been flown from Nepal since Saturday.

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An inter-ministerial team, headed by a top Home Ministry official, will also leave for Nepal soon to coordinate the rescue and relief efforts as part of ‘Operation Maitri’ or friendship. “I underline that rapid rescue and relief is our primary mission in Nepal. Situation in Nepal is very, very serious,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said at a joint news conference. Home Secretary L C Goyal, Defence Secretary R K Mathur, chief of National Disaster Management Authority R K Jain and India Meteorological Department head L S Rathore were also present.

Giving details, Jaishankar said 546 Indian nationals were brought back on Saturday  while 634 came in batches on Sunday. He said while the rescue team were trying to evacuate nationals of other countries, Indians were the obvious priority.

An aftershock of intensity 5.3 has just rocked Nepal and parts of India. People already living in fear have rushed out of their home. The situation is only becoming grim with rain already hampering relief work.

China on Sunday announced a 20 million yuan (US $3.3 million) humanitarian aid to Nepal to deal with the massive earthquake that has killed over 2,350 people. The aid, including supplies of tents, blankets and generators, will be delivered to Nepal by chartered planes, the Ministry of Commerce said. China will offer further support according to Nepal’s demands, it said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his radio address on Sunday, assured Nepal full support in rescue, relief and rehabilitation of earthquake victims. “Nepal’s grief is our grief,” he said in the Mann Ki Baat. programme.

“I saw the Bhuj earthquake of January 26, 2001, very closely,” he said adding that the earthquake with its epicentre in Nepal had “shaken the entire world.” Mr. Modi opened his 15-minute address saying he was speaking with a heavy heart.

The address provided a wrap-up of events since his last address on March 22 and his foreign trips. “Indian evacuation efforts in Yemen were lauded by all because we rescued people from 48 countries,” he said.

“I am sure the efforts will leave an indelible mark in history.”

 

 

 

 

Modi shares Nepal’s grief

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