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Dig for bodies after quake mudslide

Published 05/05/2015

A man reads a newspaper at Basantapur Durbar Square, damaged in the April 25 earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal (AP Photo/Bernat Amangue)
A man reads a newspaper at Basantapur Durbar Square, damaged in the April 25 earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal (AP Photo/Bernat Amangue)

Rescuers are digging through piles of earth and snow on a popular trekking route in Nepal, where an entire village was buried by a mudslide triggered by the earthquake that struck the region 10 days ago.

Gautam Rimal, the government administrator of the Rasuwa district, said police and local villagers have recovered 60 bodies from Langtang Valley.

Nine of the victims were foreign trekkers, he said.

Local villagers say as many as 200 people could be buried in the mudslide triggered by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on April 25.

Langtang Valley lies nearly 35 miles (60km) north of Nepal's capital, Kathmandu. It was a popular stop for trekkers because of scenic views of the Himalayas.

"The entire village was wiped out by the mudslide. There were some 60 houses there, but they were all buried under rubble. It would be impossible to recover all the bodies," Mr Rimal said.

The area is about a two-day trek from the nearest town because the landslide has blocked roads to the area. Helicopters could provide easier access to the village but the Nepalese government is facing an acute shortage of helicopters.

The still-rising death toll from the quake, Nepal's worst in more than 80 years, has reached more than 7,300.

The hunt for the victims in the village comes a day after Nepal's government said it will need immense international support as the Himalayan nation begins turning its attention toward reconstruction in the coming weeks in the wake of the devastating earthquake.

Nepal is one of the world's poorest nations, and its economy, largely based on tourism, has been crippled by the earthquake. While there are no clear estimates yet of how much it will cost to rebuild, it will certainly be enormously expensive.

"In two to three weeks a serious reconstruction package needs to be developed, where we'll need enormous help from the international community," said Information Minister Minendra Rijal. "There's a huge, huge funding gap."

Soon, he added, the nation will be shifting away from rescue mode and "will be concentrating more on relief operations".

Since the earthquake, 4,050 rescue workers from 34 different nations have flown to Nepal to help in rescue operations, provide emergency medical care and distribute food and other necessities.

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