General

Latest temblor adds to crisis

- KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI, KATHMANDU

May 13, 2015-

After another major earthquake on Tuesday, the government needs to redouble its efforts to carry out search and rescue operations in addition to providing relief to the affected people.

Earlier, the government was more focused on relief and reconstruction tasks as search and rescue was almost over in the aftermath of the April 25 Great Earthquake. After Tuesday’s jolt, both the tasks need to be pushed simultaneously.

Heavy destruction has been reported from Dolakha, Sindhupalchok and Ramechhap, and more than 30 districts are affected. Thousands of houses are damaged in the districts requiring more tents and food supplies for the people. The government has also to mobilise teams to open blocked roads to facilitate rescue works.

The government faces more challenges as roads are inaccessible in the worst-hit districts. Rainfall in recent days and an approaching monsoon complicate efforts.

The government had focused on building temporary shelters for the people affected by the first major jolt. “Roadblocks after landslips in some districts have hindered efforts,” said Minister for Information and Communications Minendra Rijal. People from Dolakha were asking for night vision choppers to airlift victims but the government could not manage any till late in the evening.

Security agencies say there is no need of more search and rescue teams in Kathmandu Valley where most damage was reported in Balaju, Naya Bazaar, Bhaktapur and some parts of Lalitpur.

Nepal Police spokesperson Kamal Singh Bam said the houses that collapsed on Tuesday were cracked by earlier tremors. “We have enough resource for search and rescue in the Valley but we cannot say that about other districts,” said Bam. People were not trapped in Kathmandu Valley.

The government is yet to collect details about the situation in the affected districts. Based on preliminary information, the government has decided to focus efforts on Dolakha, Sindhupalchok and Ramechhap.

The government would soon decide about inviting foreign rescue teams after consultation with Nepal Army, Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force.

Ministers are in talks with the security agencies to decide whether foreign support is necessary. The government has officially asked foreign missions to return home.

House to meet today to endorse motion

The House meeting which had been deliberating on a common resolution motion registered by the 31 parties represented in Parliament has been postponed till Wednesday.

CPN-UML lawmaker Bishnu Poudel was speaking while the earthquake struck the country. As the lawmakers walked out, Speaker Subas Nembang announced the postponement.

The meeting was expected to endorse a 27-point motion that directs the government to prepare a detailed action plan on relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation. The motion proposes arranging for

temporary shelters for the quake-hit.

The motion is likely to be endorsed on Wednesday, after which the session will close. Lawmakers are then expected to be deployed to districts for the aid of the victims.

Published: 13-05-2015 07:30

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