Riot police have struggled to contain anger among survivors of the Nepalese earthquake which has killed more than 5000 people, as rescuers race time to find anyone else alive.
Supplies are running thin and aftershocks have strained nerves in the ruined capital Kathmandu.
Desperate to leave, thousands of people began gathering from before dawn on Wednesday outside the city’s main bus station after the government promised to lay on special services.
But when they failed to materialise, anger began surging and scuffles broke out between the crowds and columns of riot police sent in to contain the situation near parliament.
“They told us there would be 250 buses coming but we haven’t seen any of them,” said Kishor Kavre, a 25-year-old student.
“We’re in a hurry to get home to see our families but we’ve no idea when they’re coming now. I think the government is struggling.”
There was also desperation in devastated rural areas where people have been pleading to be airlifted out when the occasional helicopter has reached their villages with relief supplies.
A total of 5057 people are so far known to have died in Nepal alone from Saturday’s quake, and about 100 more in neighbouring India and China.
About 8000 were injured while the United Nations estimates eight million people have been affected by Nepal’s worst natural disaster in eight decades.
Among the dead were 18 climbers who were at Mount Everest base camp when an avalanche from the quake flattened everything in its path – including Melbourne mother Renu Fotedar.
Although the aftershocks have begun to subside, hundreds of thousands of people are still sleeping in the streets after their homes were wrecked or are on the verge of collapse.
Rescue teams from a large number of countries are helping the hard-pressed authorities in one of Asia’s poorest nations.
French rescuers managed to pluck one man from the rubble of his Kathmandu home late on Tuesday after he was trapped under masonry for about 82 hours.
Barely conscious and covered in dust, 27-year-old Rishi Khanal was taken to hospital in an ambulance after being fitted with a neck brace and having a drip attached to his right arm.
But rescuers underlined the daunting scale of the task.
“It’s a very difficult disaster zone, very compact and on top of that it’s been raining,” Pascal Montant, part of the French rescue team, said after one fruitless search of wreckage.
“When I took my dog off the leash it didn’t give out any signal, it didn’t bark, which means that possibly there’s no one inside.”