The Latest on Nepal: Foreign reconstruction help needed

AP News
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Posted: May 04, 2015 5:56 AM
The Latest on Nepal: Foreign reconstruction help needed

2 p.m. (0815 GMT)

Nepal's information minister says the country will need immense international support as it begins turning its attention toward post-quake reconstruction in coming weeks.

Nepal is one of the world's poorest nations, and its economy, largely based on tourism, has been crippled by the earthquake. While there are no clear estimates yet of how much it will cost to rebuild, it will certainly be enormously expensive.

Information Minister Minendra Rijal said that in two to three weeks a serious reconstruction package would be needed, and "we'll need enormous help from the international community."

He said that there would be a "huge, huge funding gap."

He also said foreign rescue workers were welcome in Nepal, saying they could remain as long as they are needed. He had earlier said that the need for their services was diminishing, but later denied that he wanted them to leave the country.

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12 noon (0615 GMT)

Sherpas in Nepal are refusing to rebuild the route on Mount Everest that was destroyed by an earthquake-triggered avalanche more than one week ago, a decision which will likely end this year's climbing season.

Gyanendra Shrestha, an official at Nepal's Mountaineering Department, said the Sherpas informed the office on Monday that they were not going to rebuild the route.

Mountaineering teams have until the end of the month to climb the peak, but without the route fixed it is not be possible for them to make their climbs. The Sherpas play a crucial role by bringing the ladders, ropes and equipment needed to clear the trail.

— Binaj Gurubacharya, Kathmandu, Nepal

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10 a.m. (0415 GMT)

Hundreds of people have visited Buddhists shrines and monasteries in Nepal's quake-wracked Kathmandu to mark the birthday of Gautama Buddha and to pray for the country.

At the base of the Swayambhunath shrine, located atop a hill on the northwestern edge of Kathmandu, hundreds of people chanted prayers Monday along with monks and nuns, as they walked around the hill where the white iconic stupa with its gazing eye is located.

The festival of Buddha Purnima marks the triple events of Gautam Buddha's life: his birth, his enlightenment and his attaining a state of Nirvana that frees believers from the circle of death and rebirth.

— Binaj Gurubacharya, Kathmandu, Nepal

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9.00 a.m. (0315 GMT)

The government says the death toll from the April 25 earthquake in Nepal has climbed to 7,276, including six foreigners and 45 Nepalese found over the weekend on a popular trekking route.

Nepal's Tourist Police reported that a total of 57 foreigners have been killed in the quake, and 109 are still missing, including 12 Russians and nine Americans.