KATHMANDU: An emergency Cabinet meeting held in Singha Durbar today declared all earthquake affected areas crisis zones and decided to mobilise government’s all mechanisms for rescue and relief of earthquake victims. The Cabinet meeting was chaired by Acting Prime Minister Bam Dev Gautam in the absence of Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.

In view of significance of communication at this hour tragedy, the government has arranged for free delivery of SMS service from NTC and Ncell until further notice, according to Minister for Information and Communications Minendra Rijal.

The government has appealed to all government bodies, I/NGOs, political parties and civil society members to assist in the rescue and relief works. The government has requested all hospitals and health institutions, including those owned by private sectors and the community, to work for the treatment of the injured.

All helicopters available in the country, including those owned by private entrepreneurs, have been asked to keep standby round the clock to respond to emergency rescue calls, according to Rijal.

“The government has also requested media to inform and support the government for rescue and relief works,” Rijal added.

As a preliminary fund to carry out rescue and relief works, the Cabinet decided to release Rs 500 million. Minister Rijal said that the government would work effectively to reconstruct the demolished public structures.

Meanwhile, issuing a statement here today, Acting PM Gautam requested people to stay calm and call 100, 4200258, 4200105 or 4200203 in case of any emergency.

“As the injured people need urgent medical care, I urge all health workers to go to hospitals or health centres and to treat the victims,” Gautam said.

Gautam instructed all chief district officers to make good coordination and mobilise rescue and relief works by opening their offices round the clock.

Meanwhile, electricity supply was disconnected to prevent fire or any other untoward incident due to short-circuit, according to officials. Telephone service was also partially disrupted.