Window is rapidly “narrowing” for quake victims

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The earthquake caused widespread damage and loss of life. Photo: UNDP Nepal/Laxmi Prasad Ngakhusi

Helping Nepal's earthquake survivors in Nepal has become a "race against time" as access problems hamper efforts to deliver emergency aid outside Kathmandu.

United Nations agencies have confirmed that the relief operation is well under way in the capital, but heavy rains and the threat of landslides have made it difficult to assess the needs of remote communities.

World Food Programme reported impassable roads but said that it would use helicopters and airplanes to deliver aid before the monsoon season begins in May.

Daniel Johnson has more.

UN aid co-ordinator OCHA said the death toll from Saturday's earthquake now stands at around 4,000 people and is "fully expected" to increase in coming days.

Eight million people in 39 districts have been affected, OCHA announced.

Spokesperson Jens Laerke said time was running out for disaster victims.

But he said that search teams wouldn't give up looking for survivors.

"There is of course a window that is rapidly narrowing for rescuing people, but trust me, these teams have very long and profound experience in doing that and they will continue to come in and they will continue to look for survivors for as long as it takes."

Other UN agencies also stressed the need to act quickly.

World Health Organization said it was focusing on rescuing and treating earthquake victims and also on coordinating foreign medical teams.

World Food Programme meanwhile said it aims to feed 1.4 million people "in acute need" in the next three months.

And UNICEF said that 1.3 million children urgently need help, while many villages outside Kathmandu have not yet been reached.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration: 1’08″


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