Nepal quake toll passes 6,200; $2 billion needed for reconstruction

admin   •   May 1, 2015   •   2160

Members of a rescue team from Hungary search for earthquake survivors under the debris of a collapsed building, in Kathmandu, Nepal April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

(Reuters) – The death toll from Nepal’s devastating earthquake rose steadily past 6,200 on Friday as fresh aftershocks and the stench of rotting bodies made it hard for nervous survivors to return to their homes.

Disposal of the hundreds of bodies still being found six days after the 7.9 magnitude quake devastated the Himalayan nation of 28 million people was becoming a problem for officials, who have ordered immediate cremations.

“Morgues are full beyond capacity and we have been given instruction to incinerate bodies immediately after they are pulled out,” said Raman Lal, an Indian paramilitary force official working in coordination with Nepali forces.

Aid was slowly beginning to reach remote towns and villages nestled in the mountains and foothills but the overpowering smell of bodies trapped beneath the rubble of collapsed buildings in the capital was making it hard for residents to return to their homes.

Many Nepalis have been sleeping in the open since Saturday’s quake. According to the United Nations, 600,000 houses have been destroyed or damaged.

Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat said Nepal would need at least $2 billion to rebuild homes, hospitals, government offices and historic buildings and appealed for help from international donors.

“This is just an initial estimate and it will take time to assess the extent of damage and calculate the cost of rebuilding,” Mahat told Reuters.

The United Nations has said 8 million people had been affected, with at least 2 million in need of tents, water, food and medicines over the next three months.

A home ministry official said the death toll had risen to 6,204, with 13,924 injured.

Information Minister Minendra Rijal said the government would provide $1,000 in immediate assistance to the families of those killed, as well as $400 for cremation or burial.

Prime Minister Sushil Koirala told Reuters earlier this week the death toll from the quake could reach 10,000.

That would surpass the 8,500 who died in a 1934 earthquake, the last disaster on this scale to hit the Himalayan nation sandwiched between India and China.

UNPRECEDENTED SCALE

Home ministry official Laxmi Prasad Dhakal said that, even though the 1934 quake was more powerful, there were fewer people living in the Kathmandu valley then.

“The scale of reconstruction will be unprecedented,” Dhakal said. “We have still not even been able to assess the damage in remote areas, which have been completely devastated.”Officials have said the chances of finding any more survivors were fading, even though a boy and a woman had on Thursday been pulled from the rubble where they had lain trapped for five days.

As rescuers slowly started reaching outlying areas, witnesses reported seeing 70 to 80 percent of buildings severely damaged in Chautara, northeast of Kathmandu towards the border with China’s Tibet.

Anger over the pace of the rescue has flared in some areas, with Nepalis accusing the government of being too slow to distribute international aid that has flooded into the country.

It has yet to reach many in need, particularly in areas hard to reach given the quake damage, poor weather and aftershocks.Tensions between foreigners and Nepalis desperate to be evacuated have also surfaced. In Ashrang village in Gorkha, one of the worst-hit districts about four hours by road west of Kathmandu, hundreds of villagers were living outdoors with little food and water even as boxes of biscuits, juice and sacks of rice and wheat were stored in a nearby government office.Nepal is also appealing to foreign governments for more helicopters help the 20 at work in rescue operations. China was expected to send more, home ministry official Dhakal said.

In the Himalayas, climbing is set to reopen on Mount Everest next week after damage caused by avalanches triggered by the quake is repaired, although many have abandoned their ascents.

A massive avalanche killed 18 climbers and sherpa mountain guides at the Everest base camp.

(Additional reporting by Andrew MacAskill, Sanjeev Miglani, Ross Adkin, Frank Jack Daniel, Andrew Marshall, Adnan Abidi and Christophe Van Der Perre in Nepal; Writing by Paul Tait; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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Philippines to lift travel ban on 10 countries starting September 6

UNTV News   •   September 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to lift the current travel restrictions on travelers from 10 countries starting September 6, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced in a statement on Saturday.

These countries are namely:  India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Nonetheless, international travelers coming from the said countries shall comply with the appropriate entry, testing and quarantine protocols, depending on the country’s approved “listing,” Roque said.

He added that the IATF has adopted the “Yellow” and “Red” classifications, in addition to the “Green List” countries/jurisdictions/territories.

Roque said this is based on the countries’ respective incidence rates and case counts as primary criteria, and testing data as secondary criteria.  The incidence rate is the cumulative new cases over the past 28 days per 100,000 population while case counts are cumulative new cases over the past 28 days.

The government first imposed the travel restrictions on India in April then later expanded to include more countries to stem the spread of Delta variant, the highly transmissible strain of COVID-19.

 

PH extends ban on travelers from India, 6 other nations until July 31

Robie de Guzman   •   July 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has extended its entry restrictions for travelers coming from India and six other countries until July 31, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the extension of travel restrictions on India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, and Oman.

“Inaprubahan ng inyong IATF ang extension ng travel restrictions sa India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates at Oman hanggang katapusan ng buwan o July 31, 2021,” Roque announced during his regular press briefing.

The travel ban, imposed to prevent the further entry of highly contagious Delta COVID-19 variant, was supposed to lapse on July 15.

Roque said the IATF technical working group has also been instructed to further review and submit recommendations on the appropriate testing and quarantine protocols for inbound travelers from the above-mentioned countries as well as other nations considered as “high risk” for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to decide on the recommended travel ban on Indonesia due to a surge in cases of Delta COVID-19 variant. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

PH extends ban on travelers from India to May 31; adds Oman, UAE in travel restrictions

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has extended its existing ban on travelers from India until May 31 to prevent the spread of a coronavirus variant first detected in the South Asian nation, Malacañang said.

In a statement on Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said passengers coming from India are still not allowed to enter the Philippines until 2359H of May 31, 2021.

The Philippines also extended its travel ban for passengers coming from Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka in the same period.

Roque also announced the expansion of the country’s travel restrictions to include travelers coming from Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or those with travel history to these countries within the last 14 days preceding arrival.

The entry ban on travelers from Oman and the UAE will take effect on May 15 until May 31.

Roque said the ban was recommended by the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Passengers who are already in transit from the said countries or have been to the same areas within 14 days and arrived in the Philippines before May 15 will be allowed entry.

They will, however, be required to undergo stricter quarantine and testing protocols, notwithstanding a negative Reverse Transcription – Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) result.

“The Department of Transportation should ensure that airlines are directed not to allow the boarding of passengers who are prohibited from entering the country pursuant to travel restrictions imposed by the Office of the President and IATF resolutions except if they are part of the repatriation efforts of the national government,” Roque said.

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