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Japanese rescuers expand search in quake-hit Kathmandu; Nepal prime minister fears 10,000 dead

Kyodo

A team of Japanese rescue workers stepped up their search operations on Wednesday in central Kathmandu a day after arriving in the capital to look for survivors of Saturday’s deadly earthquake.

The quake killed at least 5,000 people in Nepal and neighboring countries, and prompted throngs of foreign rescue workers and staff from nongovernmental organizations to flock to the disaster zone.

An advance team of Self-Defense Forces troops is expected to arrive on Wednesday night.

The situation in Kathmandu remains grave with many people facing difficulties accessing daily necessities. Most shops in downtown areas remain closed amid an ongoing power outage.

Residents are forming long lines at bus terminals to get out of the capital for provincial towns.

With roads and communications networks severed, it remains hard to grasp the true extent of the damage, especially in mountainous regions. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala told Reuters the death toll could reach 10,000.

As of Tuesday, the toll had reached 5,057 in Nepal, 73 in India, 25 in China and four in Bangladesh, according to authorities in those countries. The number of injured totaled around 11,000 in Nepal alone.

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