Aid begins arriving in Nepal's remote quake-hit villages

Growing Anger Over Earthquake Response

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) - The first supplies of food aid began reaching remote, earthquake-shattered mountain villages in Nepal, while thousands clamored to board buses out of Kathmandu, either to check on rural relatives or for fear of spending yet another night in the damaged capital.

Frustration over the slow delivery of humanitarian aid boiled over in a protest in the city, with about 200 people facing off with police and blocking traffic.

The protest was comparatively small and no demonstrators were detained. But it reflected growing anger over bottlenecks that delayed much-needed relief days after the powerful earthquake that killed more than 5,500 people, injured twice that many and left tens of thousands homeless. Police, meanwhile, arrested dozens of people on suspicion of looting or causing panic by spreading rumors of another big quake.

Helicopters finally brought food, temporary shelter and other aid to hamlets north of Kathmandu in the mountainous Gorkha District near the epicenter of Saturday's 7.8-magnitude quake. Entire clusters of homes there were reduced to piles of stone and splintered wood. Women greeted the delivery with repeated cries of "We are hungry!"

While the death toll in the village of Gumda was low - only five people were killed and 20 were injured among 1,300 residents - most had lost their homes and desperately needed temporary shelter, along with the 40-kilogram (90-pound) sacks of rice that were delivered Wednesday. Adding to residents' misery was the rain that has fallen periodically since the quake and hampered helicopter aid flights.

The U.N. World Food Program warned that it will take time for food and other supplies to reach more remote communities that have been cut off by landslides.

"More helicopters, more personnel and certainly more relief supplies, including medical teams, shelter, tents, water and sanitation and food, are obviously needed," said the program's Geoff Pinnock, who was coordinating the flights.

With more than 8 million Nepalese affected by the earthquake, including 1.4 million who need immediate food assistance, Pinnock said the effort would continue for months.

President Barack Obama called Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and discussed U.S. military and civilian efforts already underway to help Nepal, the White House said.

Police said the official death toll in Nepal had reached 5,489 as of late Wednesday. That figure did not include the 19 people killed at Mount Everest - five foreign climbers and 14 Nepalese Sherpa guides - when the quake unleashed an avalanche at base camp.

At least 210 foreign trekkers and residents stranded in the Lantang area north of Kathmandu had been rescued, government administrator Gautam Rimal said. The area, which borders Tibet, is popular with tourists.

In Kathmandu, where most buildings were spared complete collapse, many residents - fearing aftershocks - continued to camp in parks and other open spaces.

But people were starting to leave tent cities like those in Kathmandu's Tudikhel area. Anop Bhattachan and more than two dozen relatives have been sleeping on the field since Saturday, but he said they now want to get out of the city.

Thousands waited at bus stations in Kathmandu, hoping to reach their hometowns in rural areas. Some wanted to check on the fate of family and loved ones in the quake, while others were fearful of more aftershocks in the city.

"I am hoping to get on a bus, any bus heading out of Kathmandu. I am too scared to be staying in Kathmandu," said Raja Gurung, who wanted to get to his home in western Nepal. "The house near my rented apartment collapsed. It was horrible. I have not gone indoors in many days. I would rather leave than live a life of fear in Kathmandu."

Despite Wednesday's small protest, there were signs that life was inching back to normal in the capital. Banks opened for a few hours and refilled their ATMs with cash, some shops reopened and vendors returned to the streets.

Even though Nabin and Laxmi Shrestha remained frightened about aftershocks, the husband and wife have reopened their tea shop.

"I'm scared, but people are hungry. We need to feed them," Laxmi Shrestha said.

Planes carrying food and other supplies have been steadily arriving at Kathmandu's small airport, but the aid distribution process remains fairly chaotic, with Nepalese officials having difficulty directing the flow of emergency supplies.

A man who was freed after being trapped for 82 hours in a collapsed hotel gave details of his ordeal, saying he drank his own urine to survive.

"I had some hope, but by yesterday I'd given up," Rishi Khanal told The Associated Press from his hospital bed Wednesday. "My nails went all white and my lips cracked ... I was sure no one was coming for me. I was certain I was going to die."

The 27-year-old Khanal, whose foot was crushed under the debris, said he was surrounded by bodies and kept banging on the rubble until a French rescue team pulled him out.

"I am thankful," he said.

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Aid begins arriving in Nepal's remote quake-hit villages
BHAKTAPUR, NEPAL - 2015/05/02: Nepali residents sift through rubble to recover keys, coins, and other small items from the rubble of their home in Bhaktapur, Nepal on May 2, 2015. On April 25, 2015, Nepal suffered a magnitude 7.8 earthquake killing over 6,000 people and injuring thousands more. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A Nepalese policeman walks among earthquake debris in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu on April 28, 2015. Hungry and desperate villagers rushed towards relief helicopters in remote areas of Nepal on April 28, begging to be airlifted to safety, four days after a monster earthquake killed nearly 4,500 people. AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
A man carries a woman injured in an earthquake in Kathmandu on April 28, 2015. Hungry and desperate villagers rushed towards relief helicopters in remote areas of Nepal on April 28, begging to be airlifted to safety, four days after a monster earthquake killed nearly 4,500 people. AFP PHOTO / MANAN VATSYAYANA (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)
French rescue workers (back) and Spanish rescue workers (front) talk among earthquake debris in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu on April 28, 2015. Hungry and desperate villagers rushed towards relief helicopters in remote areas of Nepal on April 28, begging to be airlifted to safety, four days after a monster earthquake killed nearly 4,500 people. AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese Military Police officials search through rubble in the earthquake damaged area of Bhaktapur on the outskirts of Kathmandu on April 28, 2015. Hungry and desperate villagers rushed towards relief helicopters in remote areas of Nepal, begging to be airlifted to safety, four days after a monster earthquake killed nearly 4,500 people. AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
KATHMANDU, NEPAL - APRIL 26: Local people and soldiers inspect debris of destroyed buildings after a powerful earthquake hits Katmandu, Nepal on April 26, 2015. The death toll in Nepal climbed towards 2,500 on Sunday as rescuers unearthed the victims of a powerful earthquake. There have been 773 people killed in Nepals densely-populated capital Kathmandu, while the Himalayan nations central region, close to the epicenter of Saturdays 7.8-magnitude quake, has seen 1,055 deaths. (Photo by Sunil Pradhan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Nepalese residents walk past road damage following an earthquake in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. International aid groups and governments intensified efforts to get rescuers and supplies into earthquake-hit Nepal on April 26, 2015, but severed communications and landslides in the Himalayan nation posed formidable challenges to the relief effort. As the death toll surpassed 2,000, the US together with several European and Asian nations sent emergency crews to reinforce those scrambling to find survivors in the devastated capital Kathmandu and in rural areas cut off by blocked roads and patchy phone networks. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese residents mourn the death of a relative following an earthquake, at a mass cremation at Pashupatinath in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. Aid groups and governments worldwide intensified efforts April 26 to help earthquake-hit Nepal, but blocked roads, downed power lines and overcrowded hospitals posed formidable challenges in an already poor country. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
A Nepalese resident mourns the death of a relative following an earthquake, at a mass cremation at Pashupatinath in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. Aid groups and governments worldwide intensified efforts April 26 to help earthquake-hit Nepal, but blocked roads, downed power lines and overcrowded hospitals posed formidable challenges in an already poor country. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
KATHMANDU, NEPAL - APRIL 26: A motorbike is buried under debris of destroyed buildings in Katmandu, Nepal on April 26, 2015. The death toll in Nepal climbed towards 2,500 on Sunday as rescuers unearthed the victims of a powerful earthquake. There have been 773 people killed in Nepals densely-populated capital Kathmandu, while the Himalayan nations central region, close to the epicenter of Saturdays 7.8-magnitude quake, has seen 1,055 deaths. (Photo by Bulent Doruk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Nepalese resident reacts after identifying the body of a relative in a mortuary at a city hospital in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. International aid groups and governments intensified efforts to get rescuers and supplies into earthquake-hit Nepal on April 26, 2015, but severed communications and landslides in the Himalayan nation posed formidable challenges to the relief effort. As the death toll surpassed 2,000, the US together with several European and Asian nations sent emergency crews to reinforce those scrambling to find survivors in the devastated capital Kathmandu and in rural areas cut off by blocked roads and patchy phone networks. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
KATHMANDU, NEPAL - APRIL 26: Destroyed buildings seen after a powerful earthquake in Katmandu, Nepal on April 26, 2015. The death toll in Nepal climbed towards 2,500 on Sunday as rescuers unearthed the victims of a powerful earthquake. There have been 773 people killed in Nepals densely-populated capital Kathmandu, while the Himalayan nations central region, close to the epicenter of Saturdays 7.8-magnitude quake, has seen 1,055 deaths. (Photo by Bulent Doruk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BHAKTAPUR, NEPAL - APRIL 26: Relatives of a victim of the earthquake that hit Nepal yesterday cry while walking to the cremation site on April 26, 2015 in Bhaktapur, Nepal. A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday, and was followed by multiple aftershocks that triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest that buried mountain climbers in their base camps. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors. (Photo by Omar Havana/Getty Images)
The mass cremation of earthquake victims takes place Bhaktapur on the outskirts of Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. International aid groups and governments intensified efforts to get rescuers and supplies into earthquake-hit Nepal on April 26, but severed communications and landslides in the Himalayan nation posed formidable challenges to the relief effort. AFP PHOTO/PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents stand in the street outside their homes following an earthquake, in Siliguri on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. Witnesses and media reports said the quake tremors lasted between 30 seconds and two minutes and were felt across the across the border in India, including in the capital New Delhi. AFP PHOTO / Diptendu DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian police and bystanders look at a collapsed house following an earthquake, in Siliguri on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. Witnesses and media reports said the quake tremors lasted between 30 seconds and two minutes and were felt across the across the border in India, including in the capital New Delhi. AFP PHOTO / Diptendu DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian bystanders look at a collapsed house following an earthquake, in Siliguri on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. Witnesses and media reports said the quake tremors lasted between 30 seconds and two minutes and were felt across the across the border in India, including in the capital New Delhi. AFP PHOTO / Diptendu DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese people walk past collapsed buildings at Lalitpur, on the outskirts of Kathmandu on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese people sit in an open area following an 7.9 earthquake, at Lalitpur on the outskirts of Kathmandu on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese rescue members and onlookers gather at the collapsed Dharahara Tower in Kathmandu on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese people wheel an injured man into an open area following an 7.9 earthquake, at Lalitpur on the outskirts of Kathmandu on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
BHAKTAPUR, NEPAL - APRIL 26: A relative of one of the victims of the earthquake that hit Nepal yesterday cries on April 26, 2015 in Bhaktapur, Nepal. A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday, and was followed by multiple aftershocks that triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest that buried mountain climbers in their base camps. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors. (Photo by Omar Havana/Getty Images)
Nepalese rescue members move the body of a victim from the collapsed Dharahara Tower in Kathmandu on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese people stand amidst debris of a collapsed building in Kathmandu on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
An Indian shopkeeper checks the damage inside his office following an earthquake, in Siliguri on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. Witnesses and media reports said the quake tremors lasted between 30 seconds and two minutes and were felt across the across the border in India, including in the capital New Delhi. AFP PHOTO / Diptendu DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
BHAKTAPUR, NEPAL - APRIL 26: A member of police forces walk down a street covered in debris after buildings collapsed on April 26, 2015 in Bhaktapur, Nepal. A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday, and was followed by multiple aftershocks that triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest that buried mountain climbers in their base camps. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors. (Photo by Omar Havana/Getty Images)
Nepalese residents walks past road damage following an earthquake in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. International aid groups and governments intensified efforts to get rescuers and supplies into earthquake-hit Nepal on April 26, 2015, but severed communications and landslides in the Himalayan nation posed formidable challenges to the relief effort. As the death toll surpassed 2,000, the US together with several European and Asian nations sent emergency crews to reinforce those scrambling to find survivors in the devastated capital Kathmandu and in rural areas cut off by blocked roads and patchy phone networks. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian residents rest and sleep in a football field in Siliguri on April 26, 2015 after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the region on April 25 in Nepal. International aid groups and governments intensified efforts to get rescuers and supplies into earthquake-hit Nepal on April 26, but severed communications and landslides in the Himalayan nation posed formidable challenges to the relief effort. AFP PHOTO / DIPTENDU DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian residents rest and sleep in a football field in Siliguri on April 26, 2015 after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the region on April 25 in Nepal. International aid groups and governments intensified efforts to get rescuers and supplies into earthquake-hit Nepal on April 26, but severed communications and landslides in the Himalayan nation posed formidable challenges to the relief effort. AFP PHOTO / DIPTENDU DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
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