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Nepal Earthquake Death Toll Climbs to 2,500 as Rescuers Scour Rubble for Survivors

Major aftershocks continued to shake both buildings and any sense of security overnight in Kathmandu, and the Nepalese government has asked for help responding to the crisis.
April 26, 2015, 4:21pm
Imagen por Niranjan Shrestha/AP

The death toll in Nepal swelled to 2,500 overnight as major aftershocks continued to shake both buildings and any sense of security after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Saturday.

"There were at least three big quakes at night and early morning," Kathmandu resident Sundar Sah told the Associated Press. "How can we feel safe? This is never-ending and everyone is scared and worried. I hardly got much sleep. I was waking up every few hours and glad that I was alive."

The earthquake's epicenter was about 50 miles north of Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, where much of the devastation has been felt. The tremors radiated out to India, Bangladesh, Tibet, and Pakistan when the quake struck around 11am Saturday, according to information released by the United Nations.

At least 50 killed when this hotel in tourist hotspot Thamel collapsed. Foreigners & locals killed. Horrendous scene. — Siobhan Heanue (@siobhanheanue)April 26, 2015

The quake also caused an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing at least 18 climbers and Sherpas at the mountain's base camp, and leaving dozens more missing and likely buried, according to a group of 15 survivors that were flown off the mountain to Kathmandu on Sunday.

Related: Videos show huge tremors and utter devastation after earthquake in Nepal

The UN reported that many buildings in Kathmandu's historic district collapsed, but that there was less overall damage than initially feared.

Hospitals in the area were already overcrowded and running out of both room to store dead bodies and supplies to treat the injured, the UN said. India and other neighboring countries were sending emergency medical teams and supplies to the area as early as Saturday, and the UN reported that doctors were treating the injured in the streets.

This is how people are camping in Patan. — Thomas Bell (@BellThomasBell)April 26, 2015

A majority of the population remained outside their houses and buildings overnight for fear of aftershocks, according to the UN report. The BBC showed images of tent cities popping up overnight.

The humanitarian group World Vision, which was hosting a conference in Nepal during the earthquake, released a statement saying that infrastructure throughout Kathmandu was devastated during the earthquake, with limited power, water, and internet access. There were also reports that people were trapped in temples and other public buildings, according to the statement.

"I was home with my five-year-old son when the ground started shaking, almost like we were in a boat," Alina Shrestha, communications manager with World Vision in Nepal, said in the statement. "We ran outside and everyone was screaming. One wall of my home collapsed. Tonight, 30 people are staying at my home because I have an open space where they feel safe. Many people are afraid of aftershocks and are sleeping outside, but it's cold here. My children are sleeping in my car to try to stay warm."

The Nepalese government has asked for help with search and rescue missions, and for supplies such as potable water, food, and medical help. The UN said meetings would be held throughout Sunday to organize the international response to the quake.

Nepal's Armed Police Force shared footage and images of rescuers pulling survivors from heaps of rubble Saturday.

Related: One year after deadly disaster, climbers are still leaving shit all over Mount Everest

Photos via Armed Police Force, Nepal

Nepal has a history of severe earthquakes due to its location atop the intersection of tectonic plates. According to the New York Times, Nepal's worst quake was an 8.0 in 1934, which devastated Kathmandu.

"Our village has been almost wiped out," Vim Tamang, who lives near the epicenter of the quake told the AP. "Most of the houses are either buried by landslide or damaged by shaking. All the villagers have gathered in the open area. We don't know what to do. We are feeling helpless."