In the days since Saturday's devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal, riots have broken out as delayed buses and slowed relief efforts have left hundreds of thousands of people in need of aid. Officials on Wednesday struggled with panicked crowds clamoring to leave the capital city of Kathmandu, which was located just 50 miles from the quake's epicenter. The death toll from the devastating earthquake and aftershocks has risen to 5,093 people and more than 8 million have been affected, officials said.
Scarce supplies and resources have strained the community still recovering from one of the deadliest earthquakes in Nepal's history. Rescuers have struggled to access remote villages in the mountainside, while huge crowds of people in Kathmandu have resorted to sleeping outside in fear of returning to their homes. Nepal's Communication Minister Minendra Rijal acknowledged relief efforts had fallen short to Reuters.
This is a disaster on an unprecedented scale. There have been some weaknesses in managing the relief operation. We will improve this from Wednesday.
Tensions increased after the Nepalese government promised free bus services for those who wanted to leave the city, according to the International Business Times. But when the buses did not appear, the crowds became angry and riot police were deployed. Around 200 people also blocked traffic in Kathmandu to protest the slow delivery of aid, according to the Associated Press. The AP reported more than two dozen people have been arrested for looting abandoned homes. Four others were arrested for spreading panic by falsely claiming another earthquake was on its way through social media and text messages.