New Delhi: The death toll in India from Saturday's monster earthquake today shot up to 72 even as New Delhi ramped up relief and rescue efforts in Nepal to provide succour to the nation devastated by the temblor.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh informed the Lok Sabha that the toll in the country has climbed up to 72 with 56 deaths reported in Bihar, 12 in UP, three in West Bengal and one in Rajasthan.
Enumerating the mammoth task undertaken by India to mitigate the sufferings of the Nepalese people under ‘Operation Maitri', Singh said 10 NDRF teams are already in that country and six more on their way. An engineering task force and 18 medical units have also been rushed.
An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has also been dispatched to assess the gigantic losses suffered by the landlocked nation. Over 2500 Indians have been evacuated from quake-hit Nepal so far and free visas are being given to foreigners stranded there who want to come to India.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, comprising about 450 trained personnel, have fanned across areas like Seetapaila, Maharajganj, Maheshwari and Gangabhajat, about 10-15 kms from the Kathmandu valley.
The force, till now, has rescued 10 people and retrieved 46 bodies from under the rubble of buildings brought down by the quake on Saturday and a string of aftershocks thereafter. NDRF Director General (DG) O P Singh, who is camping in the capital city of Kathmandu since yesterday, said a team of his men has also been deployed at the Tribhuvan international airport to assist Indian Embassy officials in the air evacuation of stranded Indians.
“Our main priority is to go for as many rescue operations as we can. Last night our operations got hit as there were incessant rains and aftershocks of the quake. But, today morning we have started full-fledged operations as the day is sunny and there are no rains,” Singh said.