The death toll is still rising after a 7.8 earthquake struck about 50 miles from Kathmandu, Nepal on Friday night. The city of Kathmandu has a population of around 1 Million people.
Devastation is the only word that describes the damage from the quake. As of this writing, the death toll stood at 900+, but is climbing as more information on the surrounding areas is gathered. Some news agencies are reporting figures as high as 1,400 and rising.
Buildings in Nepal are not solid in an earthquake, evidenced in photos that surfaced Saturday morning.
Aftershocks also rattled the countryside, as people reportedly huddled outside of the buildings. Hospital staff were treating the injured out in the street, according to news staff on scene. Roads were out in the area, and some roads in neighboring Tibet collapsed. Even New Delhi, India (200 miles away) reported a 5.1 quake. The USGS rated the Nepal quake at “strong to severe.”
The quake, which struck at 11:41 a.m. local time (1:56 a.m. ET), occurred at a depth of 9.3 miles, which is considered shallow and more damaging than a deeper quake. It was reported by people in the area as having lasted a long time. On person said he felt as if he were on a ship in rough seas.
The U.S. Geological Survey had at first rated the temblor at 7.5 magnitude but later upgraded the strength. It reported aftershocks of 6.6 and 5.1 magnitude, among many others others. The USGS said, at least 15 aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or greater had been felt in Nepal so far.
Mount Everest avalanches
Base camp on Mount Everest was inundated by an avalanche triggered by the quake. At least 8 to 10 people were killed when a wall of snow hit mountain climbers. Climbers pleaded for help, saying that more could die unless assistance came quickly.
“We are scared and waiting for the tremors to end. We are all sitting outside because there is more news of another quake.” Shiwani Neupane, quake survivor
Aid agencies are concerned for the thousands of people displaced, as the temperatures are expected to drop severely. Food, water, shelter are nearly non-existent at this point.