Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 27th 2015 Contents A21
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BEIRUT---Two activist groups say
Syrian government airstrikes on a small
town near the Turkish border yesterday
killed at least 34 people.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory
for Human Rights and the Jish al-
Shughour activist coordinating committee
both reported the air raids on Darkoush,
which is located two kilometers (one mile)
from the Turkish frontier.
Both activist groups put the death toll
at 34. The Observatory said the tally could
rise because many people were seriously
A third group, the Local Coordinating
Committees activist collective, said that
dozens were killed and wounded but did
not provide a breakdown of the figures.
Syrian military aircraft bombed the
northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour, a
day after insurgents seized control of it as
part of a broader offensive that has left
government forces in the area reeling.
The opposition campaign, spearheaded
by the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front and
Islamic rebel factions, has captured the
two largest urban centers in Idlib province
in the span of a month.
President Bashar Assad's troops have
been unable to wrest back any of the
ground lost, despite attempts to mount a
Syrian air raids kill 34
LONDON---As world leaders and global char-
ities try to grasp the scope of an earthquake
that devastated parts of tiny, mountainous
Nepal, they are preparing emergency aid for
the survivors but worrying how to make sure
it gets there.
With Internet and cellphone communications
spotty and many damaged roads closed, the
outside world scrambled for a clear picture of
what most was needed following the magnitude
7.8 quake near the capital, Kathmandu, on Sat-
They know they need to hurry. Kathmandu s
airport reopened, a key development.
"We know the damage is extensive and that
access into rural areas will be very, very difficult
for everybody," said Ben Pickering, Save the
Children s humanitarian adviser in Britain.
"Children will be affected in many ways.
Physical injuries. Separated from families."
Doctors Without Borders said four teams left
yesterday for Nepal from Bihar state in India,
close to the Nepal border. The organisation also
is sending in 3,000 kits including medical sup-
Habitat for Humanity International, which
has worked in Nepal for years, said it immediately
began distributing 20,000 emergency shelter
kits as it evaluated the scope of the damage and
determined construction plans.
AmeriCares sent a team from India and pre-
pared shipments of medical aid and relief sup-
plies. Handicap International, which had 47
workers in Nepal before the earthquake, organ-
ised the emergency response.
French aid group Doctors of the World
(Medecins du monde) said it had mobilised its
workers in Nepal and was sending more staffers
and medical aid to the region.
Mercy Corps said it checked on the safety of
the large team it already had on the ground in
Nepal and is continually assessing conditions.
As countries around the globe pledged aid,
Pope Francis also offered prayers for the victims
and those working to save them.
A 62-member Chinese search and rescue
team, plus six dogs, arrived in Kathmandu by
chartered plane, the country s state-run Xinhua
News Agency reported, citing the China Earth-
The US Embassy in Nepal also announced $1
million in initial aid, and the US Agency for
International Development activated an urban
search and rescue team. The US State Depart-
ment set up an e-mail address and phone num-
ber for anyone who knows of US citizens needing
assistance in Nepal.
Canada s government is sending a disaster
aid team to Nepal and contributing $5 million
to relief efforts, Foreign Affairs Minister Rob
Nicholson s office confirmed late Saturday.
The European Union is considering "some
budget support" while British Prime Minister
David Cameron said on Twitter that Britain
"will do all we can to help those caught up in
it." Germany, Norway, Italy, France, Monaco and
Mexico also pledged help. (AP)
World offers help
KATHMANDU---Sleeping in the streets
and shell-shocked, Nepalese cremated the
dead and dug through rubble for the miss-
ing yesterday, a day after a massive
Himalayan earthquake killed more than
2,500 people. Aftershocks tormented them,
making buildings sway and sending pan-
icked Kathmandu residents running into
The cawing of crows mixed with terrified
screams as the worst of the aftershocks---
magnitude 6.7---pummelled the capital city.
It came as planeloads of supplies, doctors
and relief workers from neighbouring coun-
tries began arriving in this poor Himalayan
nation. No deaths or injuries were reported
from yesterday s afternoon quake, but it
took an emotional toll.
"The aftershocks keep coming ... so people
don t know what to expect," said Sanjay
Karki, Nepal country head for global aid
agency Mercy Corps.
"All the open spaces in Kathmandu are
packed with people who are camping out-
doors. When the aftershocks come you can-
not imagine the fear. You can hear women
and children crying."
Saturday s magnitude 7.8 earthquake
spread horror from Kathmandu to small
villages and to the slopes of Mount Everest,
triggering an avalanche that buried part of
the base camp packed with foreign climbers
preparing to make their summit attempts.
At least 18 people died there and 61 were
injured, according to the Nepal Mountaineer-
The earthquake centered outside Kath-
mandu, the capital, was the worst to hit the
South Asian nation in over 80 years. It
destroyed swaths of the oldest neighbour-
hoods of Kathmandu, and was strong
enough to be felt all across parts of India,
Bangladesh, China s region of Tibet and
Nepal authorities said yesterday that at
least 2,430 people died in that country alone,
not including the 18 dead in the avalanche.
Another 61 people died from the quake in
India and a few in other neighbouring coun-
At least 1,152 people died in Kathmandu,
and the number of injured nationwide was
upward of 5,900. With search and rescue
efforts far from over, it was unclear how
much the death toll would rise.
But outside of the oldest neighbourhoods,
many in Kathmandu were surprised by how
few modern structures---the city is largely
a collection of small, poorly constructed
brick apartment buildings---collapsed in the
quake. While aid workers cautioned that
many buildings could have sustained serious
structural damage, it was also clear that the
death toll would have been far higher had
more buildings caved in.
Local aid worker Matt Darvas said in a
statement issued by his group, World Vision,
that he heard that many remote mountain
villages near the epicenter may have been
completely buried by rock falls.
The quake will likely put a huge strain
on the resources of this impoverished coun-
try best known for Everest, the highest
mountain in the world. The economy of
Nepal, a nation of 27.8 million people, relies
heavily on tourism, principally trekking and
Himalayan mountain climbing.
With Kathmandu airport reopened, the
first aid flights began delivering aid supplies.
The first to respond were Nepal s neigh-
bours---India, China and Pakistan, all of
which have been jockeying for influence
over the landlocked nation. Nepal remains
closest to India, with which it shares deep
political, cultural and religious ties. (AP)
Nepal quake death toll at 2,500
Hunt on for survivors
KATHMANDU---An avalanche triggered
by Nepal s massive earthquake slammed
into a section of the Mount Everest moun-
taineering base camp, killing at least 17,
injuring 61 and leaving an unknown num-
ber of climbers and guides unaccounted
for on other routes, an official said yes-
Twenty-two of the most seriously injured
were taken by helicopter to Pheriche village,
the nearest medical facility. However, bad
weather and communications were ham-
pering more helicopter sorties, said Ang
Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Asso-
The avalanche began Saturday on Mount
Kumori, a 7,000-metre (22,966-foot)---
high mountain just a few miles (kilometers)
from Everest, gathering strength as it head-
ed toward the base camp where climbing
expeditions have been preparing to make
their summit attempts in the coming
weeks, he said.
Numerous climbers may now be cut off
on routes leading to the top of the world s
The avalanche---or perhaps a series of
avalanches hidden in a massive white cloud---
plowed into a part of base camp, a sprawling
seasonal village of climbers, guides and
porters, flattening at least 30 tents, Tshering
said. All of the dead and injured were at
base camp. (AP)
Avalanche sweeps Everest, 17 dead
A Nepalese policeman asks earthquake victims to stand in a queue to receive tents in
Kathmandu, Nepal, yesterday. The earthquake, centred outside Kathmandu, was the
worst to hit the South Asian nation in more than 80 years. AP PHOTO
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