Thousands of people gathered across Nepal on Thursday, the last day of a 13-day mourning period for the victims of the deadly earthquake, which struck the region on April 25.
The main event to mark the end of the mourning period was held in the ruins of the Kastamandap temple, after which the capital, Kathmandu, is named. Nearly 500 people reportedly gathered at Kathmandu's historic center, Basantapur Durbar Square, to honor the dead. The death toll from the magnitude-7.8 quake has climbed to 8,413 in the Himalayan nation alone, according to reports citing the Nepal Red Cross Society.
"There are so many people and so many buildings we have all lost in the earthquake. I am here to show my support for these families and to say that we are all here for you," Alok Shrestha, a citizen who attended the public ceremonies, told the Associated Press (AP).
Search and rescue efforts, aided by several nations and international agencies, have continued unabated since the quake and its aftershocks flattened wide swathes of the country nearly two weeks ago. On Wednesday, more than 180 bodies were found in the village of Langtang, about 35 miles north of Kathmandu, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, the Cuban government announced it will send a 48-member medical team to help Nepal cope with the task of treating the more than 16,000 people injured in the deadliest earthquake to hit Nepal in 80 years. The Cuban medical team will include 22 doctors and a field hospital equipped with a surgery unit, an intensive care unit, and X-ray and ultrasound equipment. The field hospital will also have consulting and rehabilitation facilities, according to Reuters.
Nepal's central bank announced a low-cost loan to help people rebuild homes they lost in the earthquake. The loan will charge a 2 percent interest rate compared to an average commercial interest rate of 10 percent. A bank official also told state-run Radio Nepal that people in Kathmandu could avail up to $25,000 and those outside the capital could avail up to $15,000 in loans, AP reported.