Aid trickles in as survivors salvage belongings from rubble in Nepal villages struck by earthquake

A survivor clears debris as she tries to recover goods from earthquake damaged house on Monday in Rukum District, northwestern Nepal. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Survivors of an earthquake that flattened villages in Nepal’s northwest mountains searched through the debris of their collapsed homes for any salvageable belongings Monday as aid trickled into the remote area.

The relatively shallow 5.6 temblor Friday killed 157 people, injured scores and left thousands homeless when it struck just before midnight, unleashing landslides and collapsing homes in an area of steep slopes centered around the district of Jajarkot. The district is about 400 kilometers (250 meters) northeast of the capital, Kathmandu.


“It felt like the world had collapsed and I was not sure if anyone had even survived and would be able to help,” said Mina Bika, who was sleeping with her family when the ceiling of their home fell and buried them.

Her husband was badly injured and taken to hospital in the town of Surkhet, while she and the couple’s two sons were only lightly hurt.

Authorities pressed forward Monday with efforts to bring food, tents, medicine and other supplies to the remote villages, many reachable only by foot. Roads also were blocked by landslides triggered by the earthquake. Soldiers could be seen trying to clear blocked roads.

Later in the afternoon, the ground shook again with a magnitude 5.3 aftershock that sent people scrambling for safety.

Rescue and search teams said the first part of their mission — to rescue survivors, get the injured to treatment and search for bodies — was over.

“Now we are working on the second phase of our work to distribute relief material, get aid to the villagers, and at the same time we are collecting details about the damages,” government official Harish Chandra Sharma said Monday.

Nepal’ s National Emergency Operation Center in Kathmandu said that along with the 157 killed, at least 256 people were injured and 3,891 houses were damaged.

In Chepare, villagers were going through piles of rocks and logs that used to be their homes Monday, looking for anything they could salvage.

“Most of what belonged to us is under the rubble, all our beds, clothes, whatever jewelry and money we had, it’s all under there,” said Nirmala Sharma, pointing to her wrecked home.

She said they got a tent and some food on Sunday night. Authorities distributed rice, oil, instant noodles and salt in the village, to last them for a few days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email