#Nepal Death Toll Rises to 3200, Humanitarian Crisis Emerging

#Nepal Death Toll Rises to 3200, Humanitarian Crisis Emerging

#Nepal Death Toll Rises to 3200, Humanitarian Crisis Emerging

With over 3200 people now confirmed dead and another 6500 people injured, Nepal is overwhelmed by the aftereffects of the worst natural disaster in that area in over 80 years. The earthquake and subsequent avalanche on Mount Everest is now the mountain’s single deadliest event, with at least 18 people dead. Among the dead on Everest are Dan Fredinburg, the first American confirmed casualty, Dr. Marisa Eve Girawong, a medic at one of the Everest base camps, and American filmmaker Tom Taplin, who was working on a documentary when the avalanche struck.

Survivors of the Mount Everest avalanche attempt to aid the injured and dig their camp out from the snow  (photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Survivors of the Mount Everest avalanche attempt to aid the injured and dig their camp out from the snow (photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Amazingly, there is video of the earthquake and avalanche as it struck. (Warning: profanity, and a lot of it.)

There may be as many as 96 Americans missing in Nepal. The death toll could continue to rise as the population attempts to survive with a demolished infrastructure that was never first-world to begin with.

The bodies of earthquake victims are lined up outside a Kathmandu hospital (photo: AP)
The bodies of earthquake victims are lined up outside a Kathmandu hospital (photo: AP)
Deaths have also been reported in neighboring countries: 61 deaths in India are blamed on the earthquake, and 20 deaths in Tibet. The continuing aftershocks are also extremely strong – the largest on Sunday registered at 6.7 magnitude – and is making searching for survivors incredibly difficult and risky.

International help is on the way, but with so many dead, cremation is taking place on open pyres, and people are beginning to run out of food and clean water.

There are 14 international medical teams on the way to Nepal, the UN says, and up to 15 international search-and-rescue teams on the way, the UN says, which will if necessary use military aircraft or the overland route from India to get into Nepal.

Offers of help have come in from around the world. Some foreign teams have already arrived and are helping with search and rescue efforts – braving aftershocks at Kathmandu airport that forced some aircraft to circle before landing.

The UN children’s agency says nearly one million children in Nepal urgently need humanitarian assistance as they were particularly vulnerable.

The country is running out of water and food, and there are frequent power cuts, the UN says.

Heavy rain earlier on Saturday further worsened conditions with UN officials expressing concern that thunderstorms that could harm people staying outdoors and lead to a shortage of vaccines against disease including diarrhea and measles.

Nepal depends heavily on tourism, and this single natural disaster has thrown the country into absolute economic chaos, on top of the sheer humanitarian crisis. This earthquake was stronger than the one that struck Haiti in 2010, and five years later, that country has been devastated by both the earthquake and massive corruption following the fundraising efforts. Can the United Nations and other relief organizations avoid repeating the same mistakes that were made in Haiti? For the sake of those suffering in Nepal, I surely hope so.

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