BBC’s Report

Tent cities have sprung up for those displaced by the earthquake in Nepal, which is now reported to have killed some 2,500 people.

Many residents of the capital, Kathmandu, lost their homes as a result of the tremor.

And others are afraid to return to their homes – especially after strong aftershocks hit the region on Sunday.

It is thought hundreds of thousands of people in central Nepal have been spending a second night outdoors.

The tremor also unleashed avalanches on Mount Everest, which killed at least 17 people and injured 61 others.

Efforts to dig victims out from under the rubble of collapsed buildings in Kathmandu have been continuing.

Rescue missions and aid have started arriving to help cope with the aftermath of the worst earthquake to hit Nepal for more than 80 years.

The situation is still unclear in remote areas which remain cut off or hard to access.

The 7.8-magnitude quake struck an area of central Nepal between Kathmandu and the city of Pokhara early on Saturday.

Renewed panic

A powerful aftershock was felt on Sunday in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, and more avalanches were reported near Everest.

The 6.7-magnitude tremor, centred 60km (40 miles) east of Kathmandu, sent people running in panic for open ground in the city.

It brought down some houses that had been damaged in the initial quake.

The Nepali Times said that some people who had ventured back to their homes had decided to spend another night in tents.

People were using any available open spaces, it said, including school playgrounds and courtyards, and even traffic islands.

At hospitals rattled by the aftershocks, staff moved sick and injured patients outside.

Doctors at Kathmandu Medical College set up an operating theatre inside a tent, Reuters news agency said.

“Both private and government hospitals have run out of space and are treating patients outside, in the open,” Nepal’s envoy to India, Deep Kumar Upadhyay, was quoted as saying.

“We have launched a massive rescue and rehabilitation action plan and lots needs to be done,” Nepal’s Information and Broadcasting Minister Minendra Rijal said.

“Our country is in a moment of crisis and we will require tremendous support and aid.”

Mr Rijal said helicopters were being used to get teams into remote areas to get a better picture of casualties.

The official response was becoming more of a relief operation than a rescue mission, he said.

Offers of help have come in from around the world. Some foreign teams have already arrived and are helping with search and rescue efforts.

The UN children’s agency says nearly one million children in Nepal urgently need humanitarian assistance as they were particularly vulnerable.

Heavy rain has further worsened conditions.

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Offers of aid:

  • US: Disaster response team and an initial $1m (£0.7m), according to aid agency USAid
  • China: Rescue team reported to have arrived in Nepal
  • India: Several aircraft, carrying medical supplies and a mobile hospital, and a 40-strong disaster response team, including rescuers with dogs
  • UK: Eight-strong humanitarian team, £5m in aid
  • Pakistan: Four C-130 aircraft carrying a 30-bed field hospital, and army doctors and specialists; urban search-and-rescue teams equipped with radars and sniffer dogs; food items, including 2,000 meals, 200 tents and 600 blankets
  • Norway: $3.9m (£2.5m) in humanitarian assistance
  • Pledges from Germany, Spain, France, Israel and the EU

‘Rubble and landslides’

Nepalese officials have warned that the number of casualties could rise as rescue teams reach remote mountainous areas of western Nepal.

Eyewitness reports suggest that some mountain villages may have been virtually destroyed.

A man evacuated by helicopter to Pokhara, 200 km from Kathmandu, said almost every home in his village of more than 1,000 houses had been destroyed, charity worker Matt Darvas of World Vision told the BBC.

In Dhading district, 80 km west of Kathmandu, people were camped in the open, the hospital was overflowing, the power was off and shops were closed, Reuters news agency reported.

British Red Cross spokeswoman Penny Sims said it was hard to get an accurate picture of what is going on.

“A lot of the roads are blocked, there’s rubble, there’s been landslides as well… So that is going to make the aid effort very difficult,” she told the BBC.

Foreign climbers and their Nepalese guides around Mt Everest were caught by the tremors and a huge avalanche that buried part of the base camp in snow.

Pemba Sherpa, who was among the first group of survivors were flown to Kathmandu on Sunday, said he was resting in his tent when the quake hit.

“I heard a big noise and the next thing I know I was swept away by the snow. I must have been swept almost 200 metres. I lost consciousness,” he told AP news agency.

He said many people are still missing on the mountain as several tents were buried by the snow or blown away.

Separately rescue workers have told the BBC that climbers stranded on Everest have been unable to get down because climbing ropes and ladders have been swept away by a series of avalanches.

Tourism Minister Deepak Chanda Amatya told the BBC that more than 50 climbers had been rescued.

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News Source BBC Asia

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