India asks Nepal to hasten relief work

India asks Nepal to hasten relief work

India on Friday sought faster clearances in border areas of earthquake-hit Nepal which still largely remain cut-off from relief supply chain.

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar flew in here on Friday to meet Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and his top Cabinet colleagues to assess the rescue and relief operations carried out under the direction of the Nepalese Army.

Doval and Jaishankar also carried out an aerial survey of the Gorkha district and landed at Barpak, the epicentre of the 7.9 magnitude earthquake, and interacted with the locals.

“They (Nepal) have placed their request. We have responded that you (Nepal) develop the infrastructure for distribution and free passage and early clearances for border areas,” Doval told reporters here.

Sindupalchowk and Gorkha districts bordering China are the worst-hit regions with many areas yet to see relief material reaching them. The traditional mud and brick houses have been destroyed in most villages forcing people to stay out in the open.

Deccan Herald reporters toured the two districts and found many villages still waiting for relief material. The Nepal government has been distributing tarpaulin sheets to enable the victims erect makeshift shelters.

The Nepal government underlined the immediate need for tents for the victims who have been rendered homeless.

Soon after the quake, India rushed 16 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams to Nepal each with 45 personnel to carry out rescue operations in different areas.

“Wherever they have been deployed, they have been able to rescue a lot of people and they have recovered some dead bodies as well. They are working very hard in difficult conditions and we are very, very proud of them,” he added.

Humanitarian efforts have poured in from all parts of the world, from the day the disaster struck the Himalayan nation, killing over 6,300 people.

The presence of a network of ex-servicemen of the Indian Army’s Gorkha Regiment in the Gorkha district has been of tremendous help in distribution of relief material in the region.

Major General J S Sandhu, Commander of the Indian Army Taskforce in Nepal, said the relief operations were being carried out as per the directions and the co-ordinates provided by the Nepal Army.

Meanwhile, tremors jolted Nepal for the sixth day on Friday as rescuers struggled with disposing of dead bodies and sifting through mounds of rubble for rare survivors.

International humanitarian bodies called for greater urgency in relief efforts as the death toll from Saturday's devastating temblor topped 6,300 while the number of injured reached around 14,000.

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