Five days after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on April 26, a 15-year-old boy and a 23-year-old woman were rescued from the boulders of the ruined establishments in Kathmandu Nepal.
As rescuers struggle to keep count of thousands of casualty of the strong quake, the Nepalese keep their faith that loved ones are still alive.
At the 120th hour since the quake hit Nepal, residents of a village in Kathmandu cheered to the discovery of 15-year-old Pemba Tamang from the debris of a 7-story hotel.
Tamang survived by eating jars of ghee and drinking water dripping from his clothes.
“I don’t have any logical explanation. It is miraculous. It is a wonderful thing to see in all this destruction,” said Libby Weiss from Israeli Military-run medical centre, adding that they are amazed that the teenage boy did not have any major injuries.
“He was under the rubble for 120 hours and it is certainly the longest we have heard anybody of being under the rubble and surviving,” she added.
In a nearby street, rescuers were elated to locate 23-year-old Krishna Devi Khadka breathing and conscious together with the dead bodies of three other people.
“She was injured but she was conscious and talking,” a Nepalese army major said in an interview with Agence France-Presse.
The rescuers from France, Norway and Israel said the scene “is as though she had been born again.”
However, the death toll rose to more than 5,800 over the five days of trying to reach to the far-flung places in the country. Gen. Gaurav Rana, leader of the nationwide rescue effort, fears the numbers could multiply over the coming days.
“Our estimates are not looking good. We are thinking that 10,000 to 15,000 may be killed,” he said.
The official admitted that they are floundering to cope with the aftermath of the tragedy. Their role, Rana said, now includes preventing the spread of disease and maintaining calm amid public anger at the pace of the rescue effort.
“There is unrest and we are watching it. Yes, there is the threat of an epidemic, and we are watching it,” he said.
The torrential rains hamper the rescue operations. Aids from the international community are slowly entering the country as they compete to land their aircrafts in the lone international airport of Nepal.
Philippine Red Cross aid
Responding to the needs of millions of quake survivors, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) sent out 13 of its men to take part in the emergency response unit search and rescue team.
The contingent is a part of three teams to be deployed by the Philippines to Nepal in the coming days.
PRC Secretary Gwen Pang said the group will be assigned in the camp of the Canadian Red Cross to operated the Canadian-Philippine Red Cross Emergency Field Hospital in Nepal.
“All partners within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are working tirelessly to support the Nepalese Red Cross. PRC hairman Richard Gordon is organizing more support efforts for Nepal,” Pang said in her Facebook post.
The volunteers, Pang said, were well trained in emergency medicine, disaster response, mass casualty incident and “have experienced actual search and rescue response in many major disasters in recent years.”
The PRC released the names of the team: Don Erikson Orje, Aldrin Bneavidez Pacapac, Eric James Pinlac Talavera, Bernie Jay Santos, Rani Chuaco Cruz, Edwin Paule Santos, Jay-Arr Aquino Basa, Rani Magno, Noel Bautista Lapid, Romeo de la Cruz Paulmino, Hedion de la Cruz Esteban and Dave Dennis Nicolas Navida with Leonardo Ibajo as their team leader and coordinator.
“Accessibility is difficult. What we’ll bring are manually powered hydraulic equipment that are not reliant on fuel,” Ibajo said.
A five-man medical team and a 10-man water and sanitation team is also set to leave within the week to help the survivors.
(With reports from NBC.com, the Guardian.com, Inquirer.net and PhilStar.com)
(OCIE May 1-7, 2015 Sec. A pg.1)