A group of experts in disasters and emergencies is off to Nepal this week to help with rescue efforts that continue in the wake of Saturday’s devastating earthquake, while on the slopes of Mount Everest a Mexican climber is waiting to hear if he can continue his ascent.
More than 4,600 are now reported dead, 9,000 injured and eight million affected throughout the country by the quake, which measured 7.8 on the Richter scale. The prime minister said the death toll could reach 10,000.
Mexico’s team consists of two officials from the directorate-general of the Civil Protection system, one of whom is part of a disaster coordination and evaluation team of the United Nations, and four specialists from the National Committee for Help in Disasters and Emergencies.
The Foreign Affairs Secretariat said Civil Protection can also provide experts in urban search and rescue if needed, but time is running out for anyone trapped in the rubble and debris.
In neighboring Tibet, meanwhile, mountain climber Aldo Hiram Valencia Corona, 36, awaits word from Chinese authorities as to whether he can continue his ascent of the north face of Mount Everest. Eighteen people were killed at the base camp on the mountain’s south side following an avalanche triggered by the earthquake, but there were no casualties on the north face.
The Mexican alpinist said damage to the highways has cut off access to Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, where the most severe damage has occurred. Some of his expedition’s equipment is still there, he said, but the plan is to continue the climb.
It is the second attempt in five years for the Puebla native.
Sources: Excélsior (sp)