A fierce 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on Saturday killing at nearly 1,400 people with the death toll expected to continue rising, according to NBC News.
The quake, which is reported to have destroyed ancient temples, and triggered an avalanche on Mt. Everest (during the popular Spring climbing season), is wreaking havoc on the area of the country that is densely populated and impoverished.
NBC News reports:
The quake hit the poverty-stricken Himalayan country just before noon local time (2:15 a.m. ET), with an epicenter about 50 miles from the capital of Kathmandu and 50 miles east of Nepal’s second-largest city, Pokhara. It was felt in neighboring South Asian countries, and killed 50 others in India, Tibet and Bangladesh, the AP said.
The shallow quake is the worst to hit Nepal — which is landlocked between India and China — in nearly a century. It struck during the spring climbing season, when hundreds of thousands of tourists come for mountain-trekking and to tour the ancient Hindu temples in Kathmandu.
Climbers on Mount Everest were sent running for their lives when the earthquake set off at least one avalanche. Centuries-old landmarks crumbled from the quake’s intensity. The nine-story Dharahara Tower, a historical monument in Kathmandu, was reduced to rubble, the AP said. There were reports of people trapped underneath.
Nearly two dozen aftershocks followed the quake, including a magnitude-6.6 aftershock an hour afterwards that left survivors camped outside of their homes as night fell, fearful of more aftershocks. Rainfall is expected to hit from Saturday into Sunday, further complicating the relief and rescue efforts.
Secretary of State John Kerry has reportedly asked Peter Bodde, the U.S. ambassador to Nepal, to release an initial $1 million for humanitarian assistance.
SOURCE: NBC News