Emergency supplies sent to Nepal villages hit by snowstorm

KATHMANDU: Emergency relief supplies have been sent to mountain villages in Nepal hit by a weekend snowstorm and located near the epicentre of a massive April 2015 earthquake, officials said Monday.

Warm clothes, blankets, tents, food and money were sent to the villages by land and helicopter, and most of the villages have been reached, said Government Administrator Udav Prasad Timilsina.

He said most of the families in the villages had received the emergency aid. There were no reports of any deaths or serious injuries from the weekend storm.

The affected villages are in Gorkha district, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of the capital, Kathmandu.

Most of the houses in the area were damaged in the April 25 earthquake, and thousands of people have been living in tents.

The quake killed nearly 9,000 people and damaged around 1 million houses.

Nepal will formally begin earthquake reconstruction work this weekend. The National Reconstruction Authority is going to send hundreds of engineers to villages to take detailed surveys of the damage. The agency will also train construction workers and collect money from donors.

Foreign donors have pledged $4.1 billion for earthquake reconstruction, but only a small amount of that money has reached Nepal because it took months to set up the new agency to deal with the task.

The hundreds of thousands still homeless because of the quake are facing harsh winter weather in Nepal's mountain villages. Many are still living in tents and huts built with tin sheets that will be little match for the snow and below-freezing temperatures.