Nepali police dig bodies from village and trekking routeWorld
KATHMANDU: Rescuers were digging through thousands of tons of earth Tuesday, the remains of a quake-triggered mudslide that wiped out an entire village along a popular trekking route in Nepal's Himalayan foothills and killed at least 60 people.
Police and local villagers have recovered 60 bodies from the Langtang Valley in the days since the April 25 earthquake and mudslide, said Gautam Rimal, the top government official in the Rasuwa district.
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Nine of the victims were foreign trekkers, Rimal said. Villagers say as many as 200 people could have been killed.
The Langtang Valley, and the little village of Langtang, is about 60 kilometers north of Nepal's capital, Kathmandu. It was a popular stop for trekkers because of its 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,” Rimal said.
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The village is about a two-day trek from the nearest town because the landslide has blocked area roads. While helicopters allow easy access, they remain in short supply because of aid missions going on across Nepal.
The still-rising death toll from the quake, Nepal's worst in more than 80 years, has reached more than 7,500.
The hunt for the mudslide's victims comes a day after Nepal's government said it would need immense international support as reconstruction efforts begin in the coming weeks.
Nepal is one of the world's poorest nations, and its economy, largely based on tourism and agriculture, has been crippled by the earthquake.
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There are no estimates yet on rebuilding costs, but it will 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,” Information Minister Minendra Rijal said Monday. “There's a huge, huge funding gap.“
Soon, he added, the nation will shift away from rescue efforts and toward long-term relief and reconstruction.
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.