The Latest on Nepal: Rescue helicopters ferry quake injured

A house on the higher reaches of mountains destroyed in Saturday’s earthquake is seen from a helicopter near Dhadingbesti, in Nepal, Wednesday, April 29, 2015.  The first aid shipments reached a hilly district near the epicenter of Nepal's earthquake, a U.N. food agency official said, and distribution of food and medicine would start Wednesday, five days after the quake struck. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

A house on the higher reaches of mountains destroyed in Saturday’s earthquake is seen from a helicopter near Dhadingbesti, in Nepal, Wednesday, April 29, 2015. The first aid shipments reached a hilly district near the epicenter of Nepal’s earthquake, a U.N. food agency official said, and distribution of food and medicine would start Wednesday, five days after the quake struck. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

4 p.m. (1015 GMT)

Nepalese rescue helicopters are taking advantage of breaks in the rain to bring out the injured from remote mountain villages where aid is only beginning to trickle in, four days after the massive earthquake.

A rescue mission on Wednesday landed in the village of Darkha, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of the capital, Kathmandu, and unloaded boxes of relief aid supplies. Nepalese soldiers disembarked and carried back on a stretcher the 69-year-old Ek Bahadur Thapa and others in need of treatment.

He suffered leg injuries and has had to wait for medical care since Saturday’s earthquake.

The government says more than 10,000 people are in need to medical attention.

— Upendra Mansingh, Darkha, Nepal


3 p.m. (0915 GMT)

The first 44 Spaniards who were stranded in Nepal have returned home on an air force plane with Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo accompanying them.

The group is the first of some 127 to be evacuated by the government. About 500 Spaniards were affected by the earthquake and 103 have yet to be located. More than 20 were able to return by their own means.

A second Spanish plane is due to bring back another group of Spaniards as well as other European and Latin American citizens later Wednesday.

The quake occurred while Margallo was on an official visit to New Delhi.

— Ciaran Giles, Madrid


2:30 p.m. (0845 GMT)

In another sign of life inching back to normal, banks in Kathmandu opened for few hours Wednesday and stuffed their ATMs with cash. At the Standard Chartered Bank in the city, people are lining up.

“I needed money in cash so I can take my family out of Kathmandu. I want to be out of here for at least a few days,” said Suraj Shrestha.

He wasn’t sure if ATMs outside the city were dispensing cash and wanted to carry “as much as possible.”

— Binaj Gurubacharya, Kathmandu, Nepal


12:05 p.m. (0620 GMT)

About 200 people have blocked traffic in Kathmandu to protest the slow pace of aid delivery.

The protesters faced off with police and there were minor scuffles but no arrests were made.

One protester says they haven’t received any relief.

“We are hungry, we haven’t had anything to drink. We haven’t been able to sleep. I have a 7-year-old child who is sleeping in the open. It’s getting cold and people are getting pneumonia,” he said.

He accused the government of not doing enough.

The death toll has climbed to 5,093 and more than 8 million people have been affected.

— Jerry Harmer, Kathmandu, Nepal


11:55 a.m. (0610 GMT)

Police in Nepal say the death toll from Saturday’s earthquake has topped 5,000.

The Kathmandu police say 4,989 have died and another 10,260 people have been injured in Nepal.

The quake that was centered just outside Kathmandu also triggered an avalanche that killed at least 18 people at the Everest base camp.

Another 61 were killed in neighboring India and Bangladesh, and China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported 25 dead in Tibet.

— Binaj Gurubacharya, Kathmandu, Nepal


11:30 a.m. (0545 GMT)

Police have arrested dozens of people on suspicion of looting abandoned homes as well as causing panic by spreading rumors of another big quake.

Police official Bigyan Raj Sharma says 27 have been detained for stealing from homes whose owners moved out following Saturday’s quake and powerful aftershocks.

The aftershocks have waned but people are still anxious, many preferring to stay out in the open. Sharma says another four people were arrested for spreading false rumors of an impending quake through social media and text messages.

— Binaj Gurubacharya, Kathmandu, Nepal


11 a.m. (0515 GMT)

The first aid shipments have reached Dhading district, close to the epicenter of the devastating earthquake in Nepal.

U.N. food agency emergency officer Geoff Pinnock says the distribution in remote quake-hit villages will start Wednesday, but cautions it would take time.

“Remember Katrina. It doesn’t happen overnight,” he said.

In Gorkha, the neighboring district to the west, five cargo trucks filled with rice, cooking oil and sugar stood on a grassy field in Majuwa village waiting for a helicopter from Kathmandu to take the supplies to the hardest-hit areas of that district.

The World Food Program also expects the delivery of high-energy biscuits, which will be send out to areas without enough water for cooking.

— Katy Daigle, Majuwa, Nepal


10:30 a.m. (0445 GMT)

A man pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building in Kathmandu more than three days after the deadly Nepal earthquake says he drank his own urine to survive.

Rishi Khanal tells The Associated Press that he had given up all hope of rescue as his lips cracked and his nails turned white. There were dead bodies around him and a terrible smell. But he kept banging on the rubble all around him and eventually this brought a French rescue team that extracted him after an operation lasting many hours.

He’s now being treated for leg injuries at a hospital in the capital the day after French rescuers found him and brought him out from a collapsed hotel. He had been buried for 82 hours.

— Rishi Lekhi, Kathmandu, Nepal


9:15 a.m. (0330 GMT)

While many villages across Nepal are still waiting for rescue and relief teams, life in the capital, Kathmandu, is slowly returning to normal.

Municipal workers on Wednesday began cleaning the streets, and the “kalimati bazaar” — the vegetable market — has reopened. Before first light, truckloads of fresh produce were unloaded and customers began to arrive.

— Bernat Armangue, Kathmandu, Nepal


9 a.m. (0315 GMT)

Britain in sending additional 30 medics to treat the injured and heavy lifting equipment to move aid supplies off aircraft and ease congestion at Kathmandu airport.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening says the additional support brings the total U.K. response to the earthquake to 15 million pounds ($23 million).


8 a.m. (0215 GMT)

Thousands of people are lining up at bus stations in Kathmandu where the government is providing free transportation for people hoping to travel to their hometowns and villages. The government has even deployed school buses to supplement the overstretched service.

Many of the people from other districts who work in the capital have received little news of their families and loved ones since Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 temblor, which killed more than 4,700 people and devastated the infrastructure including communication lines.

Others are simply scared of staying on so close to the quake’s epicenter.

“I am hoping to get on a bus, any bus heading out of Kathmandu. I am too scared to be staying in Kathmandu. The house near my rented apartment collapsed. It was horrible. I have not gone indoors in many days. I would rather leave than a live life of fear in Kathmandu,” said Raja Gurung, who was leaving for his home in the mountains of west Nepal.

Suresh Sah, a construction worker from southern Nepal, said that when the quake hit, “the first thing I thought about was my son back in the village. I have been trying to leave but there was no bus available. I just want to hold my family.”

— Binaj Gurubacharya, Kathmandu, Nepal


8 a.m. (0215 GMT)

Aid agencies, including World Vision, say they face huge challenges as they respond to the weekend’s deadly earthquake.

World Vision says the death toll — now at 4,700 — will likely rise as response teams continue to trek to the most remote areas near the epicenter.

The group says aid workers are hindered by a congested airport in capital Kathmandu, impassable and destroyed roads which have left several remote villages still largely cut off.

The group says international aid agencies are also stretched thin as they respond to multiple humanitarian crises across the world including Syria and South Sudan,

Phillip Ewert, Operations Director for World Vision in Nepal, says, “we know the clock is ticking for those impacted by the earthquake in some of the most remote areas — aid is a matter of life or death for many at this point.”

— Binaj Gurubacharya, Kathmandu, Nepal


1:30 a.m. (1945 GMT)

Some Virginia-based organizations in the United States have joined the earthquake relief efforts in Nepal.

Operation Blessing International says it has brought several portable hand-held water treatment units developed by partner Aqua Research LLC. The device disinfects up to 80 gallons of water using only table salt and a single battery charge.

The Christian Broadcasting Network says it has humanitarian workers assisting authorities in Nepal with rescue efforts and other needs. The organization also plans to set up a medical outreach to treat the injured and provide temporary shelters for families whose homes have been destroyed.

Saturday’s magnitude-7.8 earthquake killed more than 4,700 people and injured over 8,000.

Both Operation Blessing and the Christian Broadcasting Network are based in Virginia Beach


1:20 a.m. (19:35 GMT)

Guiding companies say all climbers on the Nepal side of Mount Everest have left the mountain and the climbing season is over following a deadly avalanche that swept through base camp following the huge earthquake in Nepal.

Gordon Janow is director of programs at Seattle-based Alpine Ascents International. He says most Everest summits occur between May 10 and 20, so it’s too late to think about trying to go back up the mountain before monsoon season.

The huge avalanche on Everest that killed 18 and injured dozens happened after Saturday’s magnitude-7.8 earthquake killed at least 4,600 people in the Himalayan nation.

Every year hundreds of people attempt to scale the world’s tallest mountain, with many paying tens of thousands of dollars to guide companies that attempt to get them to the 29,029-foot (8,850-meter) summit.

— Martha Bellisle, Seattle


12:05 a.m. (1820 GMT)

The U.S. State Department has identified the third of four Americans it had announced were killed in the Nepal earthquake.

Besides the two identified yesterday, State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Marisa Eve Girawong also was killed. Those announced Monday were Thomas Ely Taplin and Vinh B. Truong. The fourth has not yet been identified.

— Wendy Benjaminson, Washington

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.