Nepal: Villagers cremate victims of devastating earthquake

Nepal's northwest mourns victims, awaits aid after devastating earthquake claims at least 157 lives and leaves thousands homeless

A remote village in western Nepal held a funeral for earthquake victims on Sunday (photo: DW)
A remote village in western Nepal held a funeral for earthquake victims on Sunday (photo: DW)


Villagers in northwest Nepal carried out some of the first cremations for the victims of Friday's devastating earthquake on Sunday.

The strong earthquake killed 157 people and left thousands more without a home.

On Sunday, mourners in the tiny farming village of Chiuri carried 13 bodies to the banks of the Bheri River and placed them on pyres of stacked wood.

Priests chanted Hindu prayers while family members covered the bodies of their loved ones with flowers before setting them on fire.

Kalpali BK watched as the body of his eight-year-old niece was carried by the funeral procession.

"After the quake we rushed to their house to rescue them but only found bodies," he told the AFP news agency.

"There were seven people in the family. Four died."

Communities wait for shelter and aid

Chiuri is located in Jajarkot district, which Nepal's National Earthquake Monitoring & Research Center said was the epicenter of the earthquake that was felt as far away as New Delhi in India.

Homes in the area are usually made by stacking rocks and logs, and most of them collapsed or were severely damaged after the earthquake.

The majority of those killed were crushed by debris.

Now, survivors are forced to sleep in the open and light fires for warmth.

"Our situation has gotten so worse that we do not even have anything left to eat. Whatever food we had is buried underneath the rubble of our fallen house," Samkhana Bika, whose home in nearby Chepare was destroyed, told the Associated Press.

"Someone else gave us some rice, a little oil and some salt out of which we made a stew last night and ate that," she added.

Nepal's government held a cabinet meeting on Sunday and announced that aid would be immediately transported to the affected areas.

Communications Minister Rekha Sharma said the priorities are supplying food and setting up temporary shelter for survivors.

However, the delivery of aid was slowed due to the fact that many of the villages can only be reached on foot, and roads were blocked by landslides.

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Published: 06 Nov 2023, 9:31 AM