Nepal earthquake death toll continues to rise

Workers sift through rubble in Bhaktapur, near Kathmandu.
Workers sift through rubble in Bhaktapur, near Kathmandu. Sailendra Kharelafp

A TEAM of aid workers reached the epicentre of the earthquake in Nepal on Thursday and reported thousands of villagers unaccounted for.

The Oxfam humanitarian team's report came after two Australian C-17 Globemaster aircraft left Queensland with 15 tonnes of aid bound for the devastated country.

While the latest figures indicate at least 5200 were killed during and after the quake, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said virtually all Australians had been accounted for.

Aid agencies including Oxfam and the Red Cross have opened appeals for donations, with the Oxfam appeal reaching $2million in donations from Australians on Thursday.

Oxfam head of emergencies Meg Quartermaine said aid workers who arrived in Gorkha, north-west of Kathmandu, found widespread destruction.

"This was the epicentre of the earthquake and the damage is devastating," she said.

"Thousands of villagers are unaccounted for and there is a critical need for emergency shelter, water and food assistance."

Ms Quartermaine said up to 40% of buildings were damaged in two villages and many houses were "razed to the ground", while there were no organised camps set up for those made homeless by the disaster.

Nepalese media reported protests also began in the capital as frustrated locals became angry at the delays to aid due, in part, to limited airport capacity.

Topics:  nepal nepal earthquake

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