Thousands reported dead after Nepal earthquake

KATHMANDU, Nepal [PeterPaul.ca] — The United Nations confirmed Tuesday that at least 4,358 people are dead after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake jolted Nepal and its surrounding areas on Saturday with another 8,174 reported injured and 8 million affected, a U.N. count as of Tuesday showed.

The death toll has jumped by over 1,000 in the past 24 hours with the number of injured up two-fold in the same period. The aid agency said the numbers of dead and injured are expected to rise as reports from remote areas become available.

Among those affected are at least one million children, UNICEF said Sunday. “UNICEF is mobilizing staff and emergency supplies to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of children affected by the earthquake, focusing on water and sanitation, nutrition, education and child protection.”

The agency was readying two cargo flights at press time with 120 tonnes of supplies. Children currently have limited access to water and sanitation, putting them at greater risk compounded by the fact that some have become separated from their families.

Immediate needs include food, shelter, WASH, medical tents, medication, surgical kits and body bags. At least 60 aftershocks have struck areas in and around Kathmandu—the Nepali capital—where hundreds of thousands of people slept in open areas out of fear of more aftershocks.

Red Cross Canada deployed a mobile field hospital to the region along with 20 aid workers to assist disaster victims, according to a Twitter updated posted by the organization on Tuesday.

@redcrosscanada deploying mobile field hospital & 20 highly trained aid workers to #Nepal today. http://t.co/5cl1RUlmLS #NepalEarthquake

Adding to the misery, fuel reserves are low and gas stations are packed with drivers trying to fill up. “With fuel reserves running low, cars and trucks are lining up at gas stations in town. All major roads are open for traffic. However, some side access roads remain blocked,” the report stated.

“Fuel is also needed to pump water from the ground and maintain services at hospitals and other critical facilities facing frequent power outages.”

The earthquake struck on Saturday at precisely 11:56 A.M. epicentre time about 60 KM outside the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal—Another World Heritage site where “extensive and irreversible damage” was reported, the U.N.’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization, UNESCO, confirmed in a statement.

“Nepal’s natural heritage, in particular the World Heritage site of Sagarmatha National Park, including Mount Everest, has also been severely affected by the earthquake. Minimal impact has been found to the World Heritage site of Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha and Chitwan National Park.”

“UNESCO has mobilized its expertise as well as international support for Nepal at this difficult time, including for the safeguarding of its heritage,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said.

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