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Nepal quake death toll could reach 10,000

Prime Minister Sushil Koirala warns that number of people confirmed dead could soar as remote villages are reached.

Nepal’s prime minister has warned that the number of people killed in the country’s worst earthquake in decades could reach 10,000.

Sushil Koirala’s comment on Tuesday came as rescuers in Nepal were struggling to reach remote communities.

With the UN estimating eight million people have been hit by the disaster, Koirala said getting help to some of the worst affected areas was a “major challenge”.

He said authorities were overwhelmed by appeals for help from remote Himalayan villages left devastated by Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude quake.

Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, home ministry spokesperson, said on Tuesday the official death toll had risen to 4,310, with a further 7,953 known to have been injured.

Mass cremations tool place overnight after the government ordered the continuous burning of the bodies to prevent the spread of diseases.

With fears rising of food and water shortages, Nepalis were rushing to stores and petrol stations to stock up on essential supplies in the capital Kathmandu.

The size of the Kathmandu airport is a major hurdle to bring in aid, as only planes of a certain size can land on the single runway.

Many locals spent the night out in the open, fearing more aftershocks.

Three days after the quake hit, rescue teams have still not reached some of the worst-affected areas of Lamjung, the site of the quake’s epicentre, around 77km west of the capital.

“The situation here is not good. So many have lost their homes. They don’t have enough water or food,” said Udav Prasad Timilsina, the head official in the neighbouring district of Gorkha.

“We haven’t even been able to treat the injured. We are in urgent need of essentials like food, water… and medicines and tents. Rescuers are coming in, but we need help.”

Outside of Nepal, 73 people died in India. The toll in China’s far western region of Tibet, which neighbours Nepal, rose to 25, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the area’s disaster relief headquarters. (Al Jazeera)

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