From the news desk

Teen pulled from rubble five days after Nepal quake

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A teenage boy has been pulled, dazed and dusty, from the wreckage of a seven-storey Kathmandu building that collapsed around him five days ago when a powerful earthquake shook Nepal.

News of the rescue came on Thursday as the first supplies of food aid began reaching remote, earthquake-shattered mountain villages in Nepal, with the official death toll of the quake topping 5,500, police officials said.

The boy was carried out on a stretcher. His face was covered in dust, and medics had put an IV drop into his arm. A blue brace had been placed around his neck. He appeared stunned, and his eyes blinked in the sunlight.

LB Basnet, the police officer who crawled into a gap to reach the boy, told the AP news agency that he was surprisingly responsive.

“He thanked me when I first approached him,” said Basnet. “He told me his name, his address, and I gave him some water.”

Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Jamjoom, reporting from Kathmandu, said many people in the capital were calling the rescue a “near miracle”.

“This is something that really boosts the morale of rescuers at the scene,” our correspondent said.

Aid frustration

Meanwhile, relief aid group Oxfam said congestion at Kathmandu airport, fuel shortages, blocked roads and difficult terrain were slowing down the pace of aid delivery.

The group said it was looking at ways to transport essential goods overland from India.

Challenges include getting aid to remote mountain villages, many of which are connected to the outside world by a single dirt road that may now be blocked by landslides, Oxfam said.

Heavy rainfall is also a problem.

According to the UN, Saturday’s earthquake has displaced about 2.8 million Nepalese. Over 70,000 homes are believed to be destroyed and another 530,000 damaged in 39 out of the country’s 75 districts.

Police in Nepal say the death toll from Saturday’s earthquake has risen to 5,489. Another 11,440 people have been injured in Nepal.

The quake that was centred just outside Kathmandu also triggered an avalanche that killed at least 19 people at the Everest base camp.

Another 61 were killed in neighbouring India and Bangladesh, and China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported 25 dead in Tibet.

Despite a steady morning drizzle on Thursday, hundreds of people were lining up in central Kathmandu hoping to get on government-run bus service so they can visit their homes in remote parts of the quake-hit country.

“I have to get out of here, I have to get home. It has already been so many days,” said Shanti Kumari, a housewife.

Kumari, a Kathmandu resident, said she was desperate to check on her family in her village in eastern Nepal. “I want to get at least a night of peace,” she said.

Over the past few days, the government has been running school buses free of charge for people wishing to travel to remote villages, worst-hit by the magnitude-7.8 earthquake.

Five days after the quake, tents at the Tudikhel grounds, in the heart of Kathmandu, thinned out by Thursday morning. Overnight rainfall forced people to return to their homes, many of which were damaged in the quake.

Nepal’s weather office predicted rain all day on Thursday; the weather was expected to improve later in the day or Friday. Al Jazeera

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