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Nepal Terrorized by Aftershocks, Hampering Relief Efforts


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Kristina
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« on: April 26, 2015, 04:50:41 pm »

In a blog post Sunday, Eric Simonson of International Mountain Guides said the news from the Everest base camp “was quite bleak,” and that the company’s encampment “has been turned into a triage center, and our big dining tents are now being used as hospital tents.”

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“The tons and tons of falling ice going this vertical distance created a huge aerosol avalanche and accompanying air blast,” he wrote. “It is worth noting that over many expeditions we have never seen an avalanche from this area that was even remotely of this scale.”

Susan Parker-Burns, a spokeswoman from the United States Embassy in Nepal, said Sunday in an email that a rescue and relief team from the United States Agency for International Development was sent by military transport to Nepal, and that it would arrive on Monday.

Also Sunday, the Israeli military said that it was preparing to send two Boeing 747s carrying 260 aid workers and more than 90 tons of cargo to Katmandu. About 600 Israelis are believed to be in Nepal, a popular destination for young backpackers after their compulsory military service. Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency medical response organization, had already sent an advance team of 10 paramedics and two doctors to Nepal.

Nepal will most likely require significant help. The country’s existing political discord is likely to hamper rescue and rebuilding efforts. The government has been barely functional for more than a decade, with politicians of just about every stripe fighting over the scraps of the increasingly desperate economy. A 10-year civil war between Maoist parties and the government ended in 2006, but the resulting Constituent Assembly spent four years trying to write a constitution without success. Paralysis ensued until elections in November 2013 led to the unexpected rout of the previously dominant Maoists.

Nepal’s people had already become exhausted with the political paralysis, but those feelings could turn explosive if relief and rescue efforts fail in the coming weeks, analysts said. The fear of just such an outcome could spur an intense international relief effort, as an odd collection of countries — including China, India and the United States — were already cooperating on pushing Nepal’s politicians toward compromise.

Thomas Fuller reported from Katmandu, Nepal, and Gardiner Harris from New Delhi. Bhadra Sharma contributed reporting from Katmandu and Nida Najar, Hari Kumar and Suhasini Raj from New Delhi.
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