Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Trekkers' bodies yet to be identified in Nepal

The bodies of 100 trekkers and villagers have been found where an avalanche hit outside Nepal's capital, triggered by last month's earthquake.

Police and local volunteers recovered the bodies over the weekend at the Langtang village, 60 kilometres north of Kathmandu, on a popular trekking route.

The entire village, including 55 guesthouses for trekkers, was wiped out by the avalanche.

Authorities say at least seven foreigners are included amongst the dead, but only two have been identified.

In Australia, the wait to hear the names of the dead is excruciating.

Adelaide man Brett White says it's believed his brother Tyronne reached the Langtang region while trekking the country to explore its beauty.

A Facebook message was Tyronne's last contact with home.

He hasn't been heard from since.

"I've called companies over there, like the trekking association. I've called the Australian embassy over in Nepal. I've tried to call... even there was one other random guy that said he was going to try and get a helicopter to go up there. And I've contacted him, if he went up there, to try and actually look for my brother. Things like that. I've just tried to call anyone and everyone."

Meanwhile medical aid agency Doctors Without Borders is in Nepal, setting up medical clinics and tent hospitals in Kathmandu, and helicopter flights into remote areas.

The organisation's emergency coordinator in Nepal, Anne Taylor, says adding to the tragedy is the quake's impact on remote regions, where access is difficult.

"The problem is that the only access really is by foot, and there's a lot of slips. Well there's been some slips since that have killed people even. We're using helicopters to get teams in, but again even with a helicopter we can't land. So it's this ongoing problem that won't go away, really."

More than 7,000 people have been killed in the disaster, but Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala expects the death toll could reach 10,000.

MSF's Anne Taylor says the reality is they still cannot put together a complete picture of the damage.

"I think it's going to be extremely ambitious to be able to get to all the villages that have been, you know, have really been damaged very very severely. So it's going to be very difficult to have it quantified very very specifically."

Aid workers are struggling to help those survivors in out of reach places.

Some haven't eaten since the earthquake struck on April the 25th.

But the United Nations World Food Programme Executive Director Ertharin Cousin says they will reach every person in need.

"We've prepared for this disaster, so we are ahead of the game of providing the support that is necessary. What we need is to continue to ensure that we receive the resources that are required, so that no person goes hungry and no person goes without the assistance that they need."

Meanwhile the Nepalese government has begun asking foreign teams to wrap up search and rescue operations, stating hope of finding people alive in the rubble has diminished.

And the families of the missing people remain uncertain of what news each day will bring.

Brett White considers going to Nepal to find his brother, but he doesn't know if it will make a difference.

"I, yeah, I'm considering it. But still, there's so many things happening over there, I'm not sure if I would actually help or not."

Tuesday 5 May 2015



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