Nepal Earthquake Updates / Official Death Toll Passes 5,000

All Everest climbers brought to safety, says official; 21 Israelis rescued from Langtang region, a further seven from Totpani; 250 people feared missing after mudslide in isolated village.

Yaniv Kubovich
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Jagot Kumari Rana, 79, is led through the rubble of collapsed homes by her grandson in Paslang village near the epicenter of the massive earthquake, Gorkha District, Nepal, April 28, 2015.Credit: AP
Yaniv Kubovich

The death toll from Nepal's earthquake rose to over 5,000 on Tuesday, three days after the massive quake ripped across this Himalayan nation, leaving tens of thousands shell-shocked and sleeping in the streets.

An Israeli father returning from Nepal with his newborn baby on April 28, 2015.
An Israeli father returning from Nepal with his newborn baby on April 28, 2015.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

Up to eight million people have had their lives disrupted by the disaster, according to the UN. "According to initial estimations and based on the latest earthquake intensity mapping, eight million people in 39 districts have been affected, of which over two million people live in the 11 severely affected districts," the UN Office of the Resident Coordinator said.

A number of Israelis remain unaccounted for, and are thought to have been traveling in the region; seven of those unaccounted for were rescued on Tuesday, along with an additional 23 Israelis also rescued. Israel's Foreign Ministry has no information on any Israelis who were injured in the magnitude 7.8 earthquake which was centered just outside the capital, Kathmandu.

Latest updates:

12:13 A.M. Number of Israelis unaccounted for remains unclear

Confusion remains as to the number of Israelis unaccounted for in Nepal. Earlier on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry published a list with 9 names of Israelis still considered unaccounted for, but two names were missing from it, the families said.

"The Foreign Ministry defines as missing those who failed to make contact after the earthquake on Saturday," said Nitay Raish, an Israeli volunteer in Nepal. "There are some who continued trekking after the first earthquake, but did not call after the second (the aftershock), on Sunday morning." 

David Azriel, an Israeli coordinating search efforts by volunteers in Pokhara, says there are 19 unaccounted Israelis on his list. Bad weather is expected on Wednesday and the Chinese army will be in charge of rescue operations on Mount Everest. Azriel and his group of volunteers have the coordinates of two Israelis near the Tibet-Nepal border, he says, but adds that they need the Foreign Ministry's help to get the message to the Chinese army. (Noa Shpigel)

9:58 P.M. Rumors of violence against Israelis in Nepal’s Langtang region contradicted by rescued travelers

Israelis rescued from Nepal’s Langtang region have rejected rumors of violence against Israelis by Nepali residents in the area. Rather, they claim that locals assisted them and other foreign nationals. “We have no complaints against the Nepalese, they didn’t hurt us they were absolutely fine with us,” said Ravid Kaplan, an Israeli traveler rescued by helicopter on Tuesday. (Yaniv Kubovich)

7:05 P.M. All Everest climbers brought to safety, says official

A Nepalese mountaineering official said Tuesday that all the climbers had been brought to safety in the Everest region.

"Everest region is clear now. We do not have any request for rescue anymore from any expeditions," Ang Tshering Sherpa, the head of Nepal Mountaineering Assocation said.

He said 180 people stuck in Base Camp I and Base Camp II were rescued by helicopters in the past two days.

He also said one more climber, a Japanese, died Monday in Kathmandu hospital after being rescued from the base camp, making the total victims killed in Everest avalanche at 19. (DPA)

6:30 P.M. Nepal earthquake death toll rises to over 5,000

The most recent death toll from Nepal's National Emergency Operation Centre put the country's death toll at 5,057, with 10,915 injured and 454,769 internally displaced. It represented a jump of about 350 from prior figures. (DPA)

6:15 P.M. Two more missing Israelis have been located in Nepal (Haaretz)

6:11 P.M. Names of 7 Israeli trekkers located in Annapurna released

The seven Israelis located in Totpani in Nepal’s Annapurna region on Tuesday have been named as: Gal Sror, Lisi Yifrach, Maya Ben-David, Sa’ar Huberman, Eitan Neuman, Pua Lasri, and Michael Beniyahu.

5:15 P.M. 7 Israeli trekkers located in Annapurna region

Seven Israeli trekkers previously unaccounted for have been located in Totpani in Nepal’s Annapurna region, and are said to be alive and well. They were found by MAGNUS International Search & Rescue. (Haaretz)

4:56 P.M. 21 Israelis rescued from Langtang

21 Israelis were rescued from Nepal's Langtang region on Tuesday, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry. The Israeli nationals were evacuated to Nepali military bases.  (Barak Ravid)

3:42 P.M. 250 people feared missing after mudslide in Nepal village

An official says 250 people are believed missing following a mudslide and avalanche in an isolated village in rural Nepal not far from the epicenter of Saturday's powerful earthquake. District official Gautam Rimal says heavy snow had been falling Tuesday near the village, Ghodatabela. He said officials received initial reports of the disaster by phone but then lost contact.

The village, about a 12-hour walk from the nearest town, is along a popular trekking route, but it was not clear if the missing included trekkers. (AP)

3.31 P.M. Rescue teams reach stranded hikers in Langtang region

Rescue crews have managed to reach hikers stranded in the frozen lake region of Langtang National Park, four days after Nepal's massive earthquake. The hikers included about 50 Israelis, some of whom had sent out calls of distress following the quake, reporting food shortages and violent confrontations with local Nepalese.

Currently about 20 of the Israelis have been rescued from the area – with some of them now making their way to the Israeli embassy in Kathmandu – along with a number of locals.

Langlang, a mountainous region north of Kathmandu, is traditionally a big attraction for trekkers from around the world. (Noa Spiegel, Yaniv Kubovich and Barak Ravid)


1:44 P.M. Some 220 Israelis landed in Israel on Tuesday, after awaiting evacuation in Kathmandu for the past several days. One of them, Idan Monde, told Haaretz that he still feels in shock. He praised the Israeli rescue teams' conduct said the treatment he and others received was exemplary. (Noa Spiegel)

1:10 P.M. Israel's Foreign Ministry: Number of Israelis unaccounted for down from 50 to 11 (Barak Ravid)

11:20 A.M. 'Israelis beaten with sticks and stones'

Israelis stranded in the Langtang area spoke to their families and said they feared for their lives. In their text messages, the Israelis wrote that the locals are acting violently, hitting them with sticks and stones. "At this point these are not rumors, it's confirmed," said the brother of Ophir, one of the Israeli backpackers. "There is violence and personal conflicts. The locals accuse the Israelis of some kind of theft of money, and they want to get back at them." He said that the locals even warned the Israelis that they would prevent their evacuation when rescue teams arrive."

Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emanuel Nahshon said that a Nepalese military helicopter was dispatched to rescue the Israelis in the Langtang areas. Military units have been permitted to use physical force in order to protect the Israeli travelers. (Noa Spiegel, Yaniv Kubovich and Barak Ravid)

9:54 A.M FM Lieberman thanks Nepalese counterpart

Israel's Foreign Minister spoke on Tuesday with his Nepalese counterpart and thanked him for Nepal's help with sending helicopters to assist Israelis stranded in remote areas. Lieberman asked Mahendra Bahadur Pandey permission to use helicopters Israel had leased from India and China in order to rescue the stranded Israelis, and the Nepalese minister5 approved. (Barak Ravid)

9:40 A.M. Nepal prime minister tells Reuters that earthquake death toll could reach 10,000 (Reuters)

9:34 A.M. Rescue teams turned back from congested Kathmandu airport

Congestion at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport has forced several international rescue teams to either fly home or land at regional hubs such as Bangkok.

The country's sole international airport, which can only service eight large aircraft at a time, has had to deal with incoming commercial, humanitarian and rescue flights that severely strain its capacity.

Photos on social media show severely crowded terminals filled with travelers waiting to fly out of Nepal after the huge earthquake on the weekend.

A plane carrying a Japanese search and rescue team that departed from Thailand was put into a holding pattern on Monday for several hours, before the pilot was forced to divert and land in Kolkata, India to refuel.

A second attempt to land in Kathmandu was unsuccessful and the plane was forced to return to Thailand.

Thai Airways officials told DPAthe aircraft did not stay overnight in Kolkata because hotel rooms near the airport were filled with passengers from other diverted flights to Kathmandu.

A spokesman from the Indian Ministry of Defense also confirmed that an Air Force cargo plane was forced to return to India due to airport congestion.

He said the military would reschedule flights to "low density time" to avoid congestion at Kathmandu. (DPA)

9:31 A.M. Foreign Ministry warns of violence

Israel's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it has asked the Nepalese army for assistance as several Israeli rescue helicopters were being overrun with survivors asking for help.

The ministry also said that so far it has records of 50 Israelis in Langtang, 15 in the Everest area, 20 in Last Resort and Annapurna. (Barak Ravid)

8:32 A.M. El Al flight en route to Israel

El Al flight from Kathmandu en route to Israel carrying 229 adults and 15 babies. It is expected to land at 12:30 P.M at Ben Gurion Airport. (Zohar Blumenkrantz)

7:08 A.M. Death toll rises to 4,347 after Nepal earthquake

Nepal's government declared three days of mourning Tuesday for the more than 4,000 people who died in a massive earthquake at the weekend.

The government raised the death toll to 4,347 as the volunteers searched for dead and missing from Saturday's quake continued.

The government also said that it was going through "a difficult time in dealing with the crisis, in terms of its limited resources."

"We were not prepared for a disaster of this scale," Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam. "We do not have enough resources and will need more time to reach out to everyone." (DPA)

12:30 A.M. El Al medical, rescue flight lands in Kathmandu after delay

KATHMANDU - An El Al flight carrying Israeli medical and rescue personnel finally landed Monday night at the Kathmandu airport, after being forced to circle for a time over India because it was not given clearance to land. It receive permission only after diplomatic efforts and persistent entreaties by the air crew. After landing, the medical teams were forced to wait on the plane, which was kept under tight security, until location of the staging area was approved.

As the medical teams were unloading their equipment, some 200 Israelis who had been waiting at the Israeli Embassy for evacuation were preparing to board. The passengers included couples who had had babies born to surrogates and Israelis who had been injured in the earthquake. The plane was scheduled to return to Israel during the night.

Although the medical teams arrived at night, a second plane carrying more equipment, including the field hospital, was expected to land only in the morning. After consultations with Nepalese officials, it was decided to set up the field hospital near the helicopter landing pad at the Kathmandu military hospital, some 40 kilometers from the airport, on the city’s outskirts. Setting up the hospital is expected to take ten hours. It will include 60 beds, two operating rooms, an X-ray and ultrasound room, labs for blood tests, two incubators for premature babies and eight intensive care beds. The teams are expected to have 122 doctors and nurses on duty between 7 A.M. and 11 P.M. Overnight the hospital will be manned by a limited staff.

The teams will be prepared to deliver babies of local women and to treat surrogate mothers who are carrying babies for Israelis. The team will also try to make contact with the 50 Israelis who have yet to be heard from. Israeli military officials already in Nepal have asked the Nepalese military for help in the form of helicopters to search for Israelis in areas where they are known to trek.

Michal Peretz is a midwife at Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba and a mother of three. This is the second time she has been part of an emergency medical team sent to the scene of a natural disaster; previously she had been part of a team sent to the Philippines.

“There the situation was different because we were working in a local hospital,” Peretz recalls. “We treated 70 women and had more than 20 births. This time we are setting up in a field hospital with two beds slated for births. But we know how to deliver on a stretcher if we have to. People on the team think we’ll have to deal with births since in situations of pressure and natural disasters there are early births.” (Yaniv Kubovich, Haaretz's correspondent in Kathmandu)

A man walks through rubble of houses damaged by the earthquake in Bhaktapur near Kathmandu on April 28, 2015. (AFP)