People stand on top of debris from a collapsed building at Basantapur Durbar Square watching the destruction following an earthquake following an earthquake on April 25, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday, and was followed by multiple aftershocks that triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest that buried mountain climbers in their base camps. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving hundreds dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors. (Photo by Omar Havana) / Getty
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.
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.