#NepalQuake: Death toll over 7,000

Nepalese police this morning pulled out 50 bodies including some foreign trekkers from an avalanche-hit area.

Nepalese residents walk past road damage following an earthquake in Kathmandu on 26 April, 2015. Picture: AFP.

NEPAL - The death toll in the devastating Nepal earthquake has now risen to over 7,000.

Nepalese police this morning pulled out 50 bodies including some foreign trekkers from an avalanche-hit area.

While thousands of people are still unaccounted for almost 2 million children have been left homeless and traumatised.

Two relief organisations have teamed up to create safe places for children to cope with loss - and be taken of.

A woman is volunteering at a Unicef camp in Nepal.

None of the bodies have been identified, said Pravin Pokharel, deputy superintendent of police in the northern district of Rasuwa. Pokharel, who led the police team, said the bodies were pulled out on Saturday, a week after the earthquake, and rescuers would return to the remote area on Sunday.

At least 200 other people are still missing in the area, including villagers and trekkers, said Uddhav Bhattarai, the seniormost bureaucrat in the district.

"We had not been able to reach the area earlier because of rains and cloudy weather," he said by telephone.

The government said the death toll from the earthquake has reached 7,040 and the number of injured was 14,123.

US military aircraft and personnel were due to arrive in Nepal on Sunday, a day later than expected, to help ferry relief supplies to stricken areas outside the capital Kathmandu, a US Marines spokesperson said.

Marine Brigadier General Paul Kennedy has said the delayed US contingent included at least 100 US soldiers, lifting equipment and six military aircraft, two of them helicopters.

The team arrives as criticism mounted over a pile-up of relief material at Kathmandu airport, the only international gateway to the Himalayan nation, because of customs inspections.

United Nations Resident Representative Jamie McGoldrick said the government must loosen its normal customs restrictions to deal with the increasing flow of relief material pouring in from abroad.

But the government, complaining it has received unneeded supplies such as tuna and mayonnaise, insisted its customs agents had to check all emergency shipments.

"They should not be using peacetime customs methodology," the UN's McGoldrick said. Instead, he argued, all relief material should get a blanket exemption from checks on arrival.

Kennedy also warned against bottlenecks at Kathmandu airport, saying: "What you don't want to do is build up a mountain of supplies" that block space for planes or more supplies.

Nepal lifted import taxes on tarpaulins and tents on Friday but a home ministry spokesman, Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, said all goods coming in from overseas had to be inspected. "This is something we need to do," he said.

Nepali government officials have said efforts to step up the pace of delivery of relief material to remote areas were also 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.