Saturday 3 December 2016

Man (101) pulled from rubble as UN makes aid plea to Nepal

Kim Sengupta

Published 04/05/2015 | 02:30

Funchu Tamang, 101, sits on a bed in a hospital in Nuwakot district on Sunday, after rescuers pulled him from his ruined home a week after Nepal's earthquake claimed at least 7,200 lives, as the government warned Sunday the death toll will climb
Funchu Tamang, 101, sits on a bed in a hospital in Nuwakot district on Sunday, after rescuers pulled him from his ruined home a week after Nepal's earthquake claimed at least 7,200 lives, as the government warned Sunday the death toll will climb "much higher" (Getty Images)

The death toll in the Nepal earthquake climbed to more than 7,000 yesterday but there was some good news as rescuers pulled a 101-year-old man alive from the rubble.

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But a government minister warned the toll was expected to climb "much higher".

Finance minister Ram Sharan Mahat stressed: "There are still villages where we know that all houses have been destroyed, but which we have not yet been able to reach."

Government officials praised the successful recovery of Funchu Tamang (101) and three women trapped beneath the rubble of their homes. But they warned anguished relatives not to expect more survivors.

Meanwhile, Nepal's government has been urged by the United Nations to relax import restrictions that are hampering the delivery of international humanitarian supplies to earthquake victims struggling to find basic food and shelter.

In pointed remarks that underscore growing concern over the slow pace of relief to survivors of the earthquake that struck the Himalayan country nine days ago, the UN's humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, reminded Nepal's prime minister, Sushil Koirala, that he had signed a 2007 agreement to allow simpler and faster customs clearance for relief aid in the event of a disaster.

Consignments of aid are still piling up at Kathmandu airport, waiting to be taken to affected towns and villages.

But Home Ministry spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal insisted all goods arriving from abroad still had to be inspected. "This is something we need to do," he said.

In another blow to humanitarian efforts, the country's only international airport has stopped large relief planes from landing because its sole runway is being damaged by the weight of large aircraft.

Medium and small jets will still be allowed to land, but the airport has room for just nine on the tarmac at any one time, creating a further bottleneck in supply. (© Independent News Service)

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