Anger has been growing in Nepal as officials admitted they were too slow responding to the earthquake which killed more than 5,000 people.Survivors stranded in remote villages and towns continue to wait for aid and relief, with authorities unable to reach many mountainous areas despite aid and personnel pouring in from around the world.
Britain has pledged a further £5m in support to the rescue effort in the country, where the government has yet to fully assess the devastation wrought by Saturday’s 7.9-magnitude quake
Communication Minister Minendra Rijal said: “This is a disaster on an unprecedented scale. There have been some weaknesses in managing the relief operation.
“We will improve this from Wednesday.”
Riot police in the capital Kathmandu have struggled to control huge crowds of desperate residents who flocked to the main bus station in an attempt to leave the city.
Authorities had said they would provide special services, but when they failed to turn up scuffles broke out.
“We have been waiting since dawn. They told us that there would be 250 buses coming but we haven’t seen any of them,” Kishor Kavre said.
“We’re in a hurry to get home to see our families but we’ve no idea when they’re coming now. I think the government is struggling.”
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said the death toll could reach 10,000, with information on casualties and damage from far-flung villages and towns yet to emerge.
Nepal’s home ministry said more than 9,600 were injured. More than 80 people were also killed in India and Tibet.
Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi appealed for specialist doctors and search-and-rescue teams from overseas, despite earlier suggestions from officials that Nepal did not need such assistance.
“Our top priority is for relief and rescue teams,” he said.
“We need neurologists, orthopaedic surgeons and trauma surgeons.”
Tensions between foreigners and Nepalis desperate for relief were starting to rise, rescuers said, as fresh avalanches were reported in several areas.
Hundreds of tourists, including about 100 Israelis, were reportedly stranded in Langtang in Rasuwa district, a popular trekking area north of Kathmandu hit by an avalanche on Tuesday.
Amit Rubin, part of an Israeli search-and-rescue group, said fights had broken out there because of food shortages.
“Villagers think the tourists are taking too much food,” he said.
In a rare glimmer of hope, a Nepali-French rescue team pulled a 28-year-old man, Rishi Khanal, from a collapsed apartment block in the capital – after he had spent around 80 hours trapped in a room with three dead bodies.
Aftershocks, severe damage from the quake, creaking infrastructure and a lack of funds have complicated rescue efforts, with food, water and power in short supply.