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Nepal earthquake: Hundreds die, many feared trapped

Media captionThe BBC’s Danny Savage says hospitals have been inundated with casualties

More than 700 people are known to have died in a powerful earthquake that struck Nepal, with many more feared trapped under rubble, officials say.

The 7.8 magnitude quake struck an area between the capital, Kathmandu, and the city of Pokhara, the US Geological Survey said.

Tremors were felt across the region, with further loss of life in India and on Mount Everest.

A Nepali minister said there had been “massive damage” at the epicentre.

“We need support from the various international agencies which are more knowledgeable and equipped to handle the kind of emergency we face now,” said Information Minister Minendra Rijal.

A national police spokesman told the BBC that 711 people had died in the quake, 467 of them in Kathmandu alone.

Media captionMinister Minendra Rijai says there has been “massive damage” around the epicentre of the quake
A map showing the location of an earthquake striking Nepal

Rescuers are digging through the rubble of collapsed buildings in the capital trying to reach survivors.

A number of historic buildings have been destroyed.

Among those wrecked was the landmark Dharahara tower, with many feared trapped in its ruins.

After the earthquake struck, frightened residents came out into the streets. Mobile phones and other communications have been disrupted.

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World’s strongest earthquakes

  • Chile, 1960, a 9.5 magnitude quake triggers a tsunami. At least 1,700 people are killed
  • Alaska, 1964, 131 people are killed in a 9.2 earthquake
  • Indonesia, 2004, the devastating 9.1 earthquake and ensuing tsunami kills more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries
  • Japan, 2011, a 9.0 quake triggers a tsunami, killing more than 18,000 people
  • Russia, 1952, another 9.0 earthquake caused damage but no reported casualties
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There are also reports of damage to the airport in the capital, which could potentially hamper relief operations.

“It was very scary. The earth was moving… I am waiting for treatment but the [hospital] staff are overwhelmed,” a labourer who injured his arm in a collapsing wall told AP.

Patrick Adams, a photo journalist in Kathmandu, said he saw “truckloads” of bodies coming into the hospital.

With little known about the extent of the damage around the earthquake’s epicentre, there are fears the death toll could rise.

People free a man from the rubble of a destroyed building after an earthquake hit Nepal, in Kathmandu, Nepal, 25 April 2015
Rescuers are searching through rubble for survivors
People stand around damage caused by an earthquake at Durbar Square in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015
Historic landmarks were wrecked in the earthquake

Aftershocks continued to ripple through the region hours after.

The quake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, with eight people confirmed killed. Others remain missing.

“Running for life from my tent. Unhurt. Many many people up the mountain,”tweeted mountaineer Alex Gavan.

At least 22 people have been killed in India, officials say, with deaths also reported in Bangladesh.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has met his ministers to review the situation. Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has pledged help for the Nepalese authorities.

It is the worst earthquake to strike Nepal since one in 1934 which all but destroyed Kathmandu.

A rescuer looks at a damaged house, after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, in Xigaze Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, China
There are fears the death toll could rise once the scale of the devastation becomes clear
People stand on the runway outside the International Terminal after a earthquake hit, at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, Nepal, April 25, 2015,
This was the scene at Nepal’s international airport
An Indian security personnel stands near a collapsed house after an earthquake in Siliguri, India
There has also been damage, and casualties, in India

SRC: BBC

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