The government appealed Wednesday for quake relief aid and warned thousands of people left homeless by Sunday's temblor in which more than 1,100 people died to guard against catching pneumonia from rains that have pelted the Himalayan region.
Officials in Katmandu said rains continued to hamper rescue operations in Nepal three days after the quake, the worst in 54 years, struck the Indo-Nepalese border. Indian authorities reported dry weather in northern Bihar state, which received the brunt of destruction in India.Nepalese officials said getting aid to areas of the mountainous country was proving difficult, even with the use of helicopters, and reports of devastation continued to trickle in from Nepal's remote valleys.
The government made an urgent call for international aid as the death toll mounted and officials tried to get a handle on the relief situation for thousands of people left homeless by the quake.
The Home Ministry said the number of dead rose to 551 and those seriously injured was 331. The death toll in India stood at more than 500, residents, rescue workers and news reports said. Initial reports from Bangladesh said 50 people were believed to have drowned when their boats were capsized by quake-induced waves.
In Nepal, officials expect the death toll to increase further. They have been unable to reach inaccessible mountain areas at 5,000 to 10,0000 feet.
Officials reported heavy rains in the areas affected by the quake in east Nepal and authorities feared many hamlets were in danger of lethal mudslides.
The official National News Agency reported 10 people were killed by landslides Monday and Tuesday in the west Nepal districts of Syanjha and Lamjung, areas that were not affected by the quake.
The seismological office of the Department of Mines in Nepal reported a series of aftershocks that shook the region and sent residents fleeing into the streets had tapered off as of early Tuesday, but many people were still afraid to return to their homes.
"The people are still frightened, survivors are afraid to enter their houses," said a reporter.