VIDEO: Thousands still missing in Nepal

Nepali and foreign officials are struggling to locate thousands of people still missing after last week’s massive earthquake, as food and other relief supplies began to trickle through to those stranded in remote parts.

Nepali and foreign officials are struggling to locate thousands of people still missing after last week’s massive earthquake, as food and other relief supplies began to trickle through to those stranded in remote parts.

Up to 1,000 Europeans are among the missing, mostly around popular trekking routes, the head of the EU delegation in Nepal said.

All 170 Irish citizens known to be in disaster-struck Nepal have been found safe and well after one remaining person was located late on Thursday night.

Most have returned to Ireland but emergency teams working with overseas diplomats are helping a number of people who remain in the country.

The number of people missing from France, Italy and Spain is 221 according to checks made with their governments, while other European countries are yet to provide an updated figure on how many of their citizens are unaccounted for.

The confirmed death toll from last Saturday’s disaster has risen to 6,250, with 14,357 injured according to the government. There is no number for the missing, but bodies are still being pulled from the debris of ruined buildings, while rescue workers have not been able to reach some remote areas.

In the capital Kathmandu, many unclaimed bodies were being quickly cremated because of pressure on mortuaries. Besides the possibility of disease, the stench of the corpses was spreading through localities where buildings had collapsed.

Many bodies could be migrant workers from neighbouring India, who may have been living alone in Nepal, officials said.

“Morgues are full beyond capacity and we have been given instruction to incinerate bodies immediately after they are pulled out,” said Raman Lal, an Indian paramilitary force official working in coordination with Nepali forces.

Aid was beginning to slowly reach remote towns and villages nestled in the mountains and foothills of the impoverished nation.

But government officials said efforts to step up the pace of delivery were frustrated by a shortage of supply trucks and drivers, many of whom had returned to their villages to help their families.

“Our granaries are full and we have ample food stock, but we are not able to transport supplies at a faster pace,” said Shrimani Raj Khanal, a manager at the Nepal Food Corp.

Army helicopters have air-dropped instant noodles and biscuits to remote communities but people need rice and other ingredients to cook a proper meal, he said.

Many Nepalis have been sleeping in the open since the 7.8 magnitude quake, with survivors afraid of returning to their homes because of a series of powerful aftershocks. According to the UN, 600,000 houses have been destroyed or damaged.

Information Minister Minendra Rijal said the government would provide €890 in immediate assistance to the families of those killed, as well as €350 for cremation or burial.

The UN said 8 million people in the country of 28 million were affected, with at least 2 million needing tents, water, food and medicines over the next three months.

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