May 04, 2015
KATHMANDU - Nepali police and local volunteers found the bodies of about 100 trekkers and villagers buried in an avalanche set off by last month's devastating earthquake and were digging through snow and ice for signs of dozens more missing, officials said on Monday.
The bodies were recovered on Saturday and Sunday at the Langtang village, 60 kilometers(40 miles) north of Kathmandu, which is on a trekking route popular with Westerners. The entire village, which includes 55 guesthouses for trekkers, was wiped out by the avalanche, officials said.
"Local volunteers and police personnel are digging through six-feet (deep) snow with shovels looking for more bodies," said
Gautam Rimal, assistant chief district officer in the area where Langtang is located.
The dead include at least 7 foreigners but only two had been identified, he said.
It was not clear how many people were in Langtang at the time of the avalanche but other officials said about 120 more people could be buried under the snow.
"We had not been able to reach the area earlier because of rains and cloudy weather," Uddhav Bhattarai, the district's senior bureaucrat, said by telephone on Sunday.
The April 25 earthquake has killed 7,276 people and wounded over 14,300, Nepal's government said.
In other parts of the Himalayan nation, three people were pulled alive from the rubble of their home on Sunday, eight days after the earthquake, while several media outlets reported that a 101-year-old man was found alive in the rubble on Saturday.
U.S. military aircraft and personnel arrived in Nepal on Sunday and were due to begin helping ferry relief supplies to stricken areas outside the capital, a U.S. Marines spokeswoman said.
The contingent comprised eight aircraft, including one Huey and two C-130s, and between 100 and 120 personnel, spokeswoman Captain Cassandra Gesecki said.
The Huey was expected to leave on an assessment mission early on Monday, and it was up to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) when the other aircraft would be deployed.
"They're the ones telling us what to take and where," she said.
On Sunday, the government restricted the landing of large cargo aircraft at the airport to limit damage to the stressed runway, said a U.N. official who declined to be named.
The United Nations has said 8 million of Nepal's 28 million people were affected by the quake, with at least 2 million needing tents, water, food and medicines over the next three months.