At least 2,000 people were found dead as of early Sunday, the day after a 7.9-magnitude earthquake devastated Nepal’s congested national capital of Kathmandu and other areas. International Christian groups were gearing up to respond as tens of thousands spent the night outdoors in cold weather.
The death toll is likely to rise as rescuers were clearing rubble in search of survivors early Sunday after Kathmandu, the city of Pokhara and rural areas in-between were hit by the nation’s worst earthquake in eight decades.
Rescuers dug with their bare hands and bodies piled up in Nepal Sunday, according to Reuters.
Nearly 2,000 bodies had been found, according to estimates, and thousands of others were injured in Nepal.
The quake also triggered a deadly avalanche that buried a part of the base camp for climbers bound for Mount Everest, killing at least 17 people, according to NDTV. Those killed in the avalanche included a Google executive, Dan Fredinburg.
At least 50 people were killed in neighboring India, mostly in eastern and northern parts, 17 in Tibet and at least two in Bangladesh.
Local witnesses described the scene as horrific, saying they saw bodies with heads crushed and people with broken limbs hours after the earthquake Saturday afternoon. It was worse early Sunday.
A doctor at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital was quoted as saying that bodies were heaped in a dark room, some not even covered with cloth. A boy aged about seven lay, his face half missing and his stomach bloated like a football. The stench of death was overpowering.
Several landmark structures in Kathmandu have been destroyed, including the 200-foot Dharahara Tower, built in 1832 for the queen of Nepal, with a viewing balcony that had been open to visitors for the last 10 years. As rescuers pulled bodies from its ruins, a policeman told the newswire that up to 200 people had been trapped inside.
Authorities in Nepali have urged people to stay outside, away from damaged buildings that may still collapse. However, temperatures are likely to drop drastically and thousands remain without shelter, electricity, food or safe water. The government plans to pitch tents and turn schools and other public buildings into shelters, according to Rameshwor Dangal, a home ministry official.
There were reports of miraculous escape of some Christians.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post