Nepal Earthquake Death Toll Continues To Rise & The Quake Could Soon Become The Country's Deadliest
It's been almost a week since the devastating earthquake in Nepal and subsequent aftershocks left the South Asian country of 28 million people in fear. The Nepal earthquake death toll rose past 6,200 people Friday and thousands are still unaccounted for. Nearly 14,000 people were injured in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake whose epicenter was located just outside the capital city of Kathmandu. The number of deaths will likely continue to rise as aid reaches the remote villages in the nearby mountainsides and rescue groups search for survivors trapped under rubble.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said the death toll could reach 10,000. Gen. Gaurav Rana, the country's army chief leading the national rescue effort, told NBC News the death toll could jump to 15,000. Either figure will make Saturday's earthquake Nepal's deadliest in history, surpassing a 1934 quake that left 8,500 dead. The April 25 quake also killed 19 on Mount Everest, 72 in India, and 25 in China.
Sporadic stories of survivors being rescued have given little hope to family members of the thousands still missing. Fifteen-year-old teenager Pemba Tamba was found Thursday, five days after the earthquake struck, under debris that was once a seven-story hotel. But the likelihood of finding more survivors will further diminish as more time passes. Officials have ordered immediate cremations as the disposal of hundreds of bodies has become difficult for the city's morgues, according to Reuters.
Nepal's Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat told reporters at least $2 billion would be needed to repair homes, hospitals, government offices, and historic landmarks and recover the damage done to infrastructure. The earthquake left hundreds of thousands of people without homes and sleeping in streets.
This is just an initial estimate and it will take time to assess the extent of damage and calculate the cost of rebuilding.
The United Nations has said at least 8 million people were affected and 2 million in need of tents, water, food, and medicine for the next three months. On Tuesday, the UN launched a $415 million emergency fund to help the Nepalese government provide these resources. Nepal's government also announced it would provide $1,400 to victims' families, which would include covering funeral costs.