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Saturday, April 25, 2015, Baishakh 12, 1422 BS, Rajab 5, 1436 Hijr

Earthquake devastates Nepal, at least 1,457 believed dead
Observer Online Desk
Published : Saturday, 25 April, 2015,  Time : 11:04 AM,  View Count : 46
A massive earthquake near the capital of Nepal killed at least 1,457 people on Saturday, toppling temples and triggered an avalanche on Mt. Everest.

The quake also killed 34 in India, six in Tibet, two in Bangladesh, and two on the Nepal-China border.

The quake also triggered an avalanche on Mt. Everest that killed at least 10 climbers and guides and injured many more, ABC news reports.

The magnitude-7.8 quake hit about 50 miles northwest of Kathmandu just before noon local time, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

By midafternoon the United States Geological Survey had counted 12 aftershocks, one of which measured a magnitude of 6.6.

The death toll, estimated by the Nepalese Army, was expected to rise, officials said.

Another 1,055 were injured, said the country's finance minister, Ram Sharan Mahat.

Sanjay Karki, country director of Mercy Corps in Nepal, said the ground was still shaking and there were predictions that another strong quake could come.

"The hospital has been overflooded with casualties," Karki said. "People just emptying their houses and you know, coming to open spaces, with blankets, with the children and all."

Reuters said, according to the United Nations, nearly 5 million people were impacted by the earthquake, which was believed to be the worst earthquake in Nepal in more than 80 years.

 Abigail Hunter, an American traveling in Bhaktapur, saw people pulling others out of buildings and using motorbikes and small trucks as makeshift ambulances. The earthquake reduced many of the temples inside the city about 30 minutes away from the capital to rubble, she said, adding that she saw "lots of people praying to the actual temples" as aftershocks hit the city.

"The streets are littered with bricks, debris, loads of dust," said Hunter, the sister of an ABC News employee. "[It] was hard to see during the earthquake with all the dust."

A magnitude-6.6 aftershock hit about an hour after the initial earthquake and smaller aftershocks followed in the region for hours.

 Hunter said she watched as families ran to their homes to see if anyone was still inside.

"Everyone was very scared," she said. "Lots of crying, families trying to find each other."

Ayal Weiner-Kaplow, another American visiting Bhaktapur, said water wasn't flowing in the city and most of the remaining food was dried junk food and crackers. He said he wandered around in search for something to eat until he came upon a restaurant.

"A restaurant owner filled us up -- all of our bottles -- and gave us potatoes, bread, and chicken, refused payment adamantly," he said. "I was actually moved to tears."
Weiner-Kaplow said most Nepalis were planning to sleep outside tonight, believing their homes were unsafe if another earthquake struck.

An Indian army mountaineering team found 18 bodies on Mount Everest, where an avalanche unleashed by the earthquake swept through the base camp.

More than 1,000 climbers had gathered there at the start of the climbing season. Choti Sherpa, who works at the Everest Summiteers Association, was unable to call her family and colleagues on the mountain. "Everyone is trying to contact each other, but we can't," she said. "We are all very worried."

David Arvan, who was set to climb Mt. Everest, said he immediately realized it was an earthquake, after having felt quakes before living in California.

"We sought shelter under a concave boulder until it subsided," he told ABC News by email. "Some people were crying in fear during all the rumbling."

Azim Afif, a climber from Malaysia, was at a base camp when the quake hit and everything in his tent starting shaking.

 "We go out and we see a big snowstorm coming to us," he said, adding that he saw "white, nothing else than white."

"We are very lucky to survive," Afif said.


Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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