Nepal earthquake: LIVE REPORT

Nepal earthquake: LIVE REPORT

Kathmandu (AFP) - 16:33 GMT - AFP IS NOW CLOSING THIS LIVE REPORT - on the Nepal quake, which killed more than 1,200 people as it tore through large parts of Nepal, toppling office blocks and towers in Kathmandu and triggering a deadly avalanche at Everest base camp.

Officials said at least 1,170 people are known to have died in Nepal, making it the quake-prone Himalayan nation's worst disaster in more than 80 years.

But the final toll from the 7.8 magnitude quake could be much higher, and dozens more people were reported killed in neighbouring India and China.

Offers of help have poured in from governments around the world.

16:02 GMT - 1,170 dead - "The death toll has reached 1,170," Nepal police spokesman Kamal Singh Bam tells AFP.


15:20 GMT - US disaster team - The US Agency for International Development says it is sending a disaster response team to earthquake-hit Nepal and has authorised an initial $1 million to address immediate needs.

The agency "is launching a DART team to respond to the #NepalQuake and has authorized an initial $1m to address immediate needs," Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance chief Jeremy Konyndyk says on Twitter.

15:09 GMT - Crisis in Kathmandu - Nepal's healthcare system is struggling to cope with the scale of the disaster and an AFP reporter says overflowing hospitals in Kathmandu are treating injured patients on the streets.

15:02 GMT - Rescue plane - India confirms its military transport plane has reached the Nepalese capital Kathmandu.

"First Indian plane with 39 rescue workers and relief material has reached Kathmandu," a defence ministry spokesman says.

"Two more planes with 259 rescue workers, sniffer dogs and over 40 tonnes of relief material have taken off from India for Kathmandu. Two India military helicopters had to return to their bases due to bad weather," the spokesman tells AFP

15:02 GMT - Everest rescue - India confirms it is helping Nepal with the recovery operation on Mount Everest.

"An expedition team has recovered dead bodies at the Everest base camp. We cannot confirm how many are dead but certainly there are casualties," army spokesman Rohan Anand tells AFP.

- Rescue -

14:38 GMT - Slabs of ice - Other climbers have described the terrifying avalanche as "big slabs of ice" knifed through their base camp.

Arjun Vajpai tells India's NDTV that "big slabs of ice" hanging near camp two, further up the mountain from base camp, came crashing down after the earthquake.

"We had some 10 to 15 climbers including some sherpas up there and we still don't have any confirmation reports (of) whether they are OK or not," he adds.

14:28 GMT - 'Shake and wind' - Experienced mountaineer Nima Namgyal Sherpa says medics already at base camp for the climbing season are working hard to "save lives".

"Many camps have been destroyed by the shake and wind from the avalanche. All the doctors here are doing our best to treat and save lives," he writes on his Facebook page.

14:28 GMT - Fears for climbers - The avalanche comes just 12 months after a disaster on Everest killed 16 guides and prompted Nepalese authorities to halt access to the 8,848 metre (29,029 feet) peak.

Some climbers were returning this year after being forced to abandon their attempt on the summit last April.

14:20 GMT - Person finder - Google launches a person finder to match friends and relatives with others who have information about their missing loved ones.

14:08 GMT - Tibet tremor - China's official Xinhua news agency confirms two people, including an 83-year-old woman, were killed as the earthquake rattled the Tibet region.

14:06 GMT - Military assistance - India has dispatched two military transport planes to help with the rescue and relief efforts and there are similar offers from Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

- Military -

14:06 GMT - Plea for chopper - Experienced mountaineers are starting to describe the desperate situation they face on Mount Everest after the earthquake triggered a massive avalanche which smashed into their base camp.

"Huge disaster. Helped searched and rescued victims through huge debris area. Many dead. Much more badly injured. More to die if not heli asap," Romanian climber Alex Gavan tweets.

13:38 GMT - French president - French President Francois Hollande says France is ready to respond to any request from Nepal "for aid and assistance".

Hollande expressed "France's solidarity with the authorities and people of Nepal" following the devastating quake, a statement from his Elysee office said.

13:18 GMT - Indian PM - "Spoke to PM Sushil Koirala, who is in transit in Bangkok on his way to Kathmandu. Assured all support & assistance during this tough time," tweets Indian PM Narendra Modi.

13:15 GMT - Charity help - "This is the worst in in over 80 years - please help us help them," tweets Oxfam Australia.

13:04 GMT - Toll - "The toll from the earthquake has jumped to 876, including 524 from the Kathmandu valley," police spokesman Kamal Singh Bam tells AFP.

"Rescue efforts are still under way. We fear that the toll might rise as we dig through the rubble."


- Toll climbs -

12:48 GMT - Oxfam - Cecilia Keizer, Oxfam country director in Nepal says communication is very difficult

"Telephone lines are down and the electricity has been cut off, making charging mobile phones difficult. The water is also cut off. The number of people killed is continuing to rise."

"Oxfam is preparing to help provide clean water and emergency food," she adds. "People are gathered in their thousands in open spaces and are scared as there have been several aftershocks".

12:42 GMT - Trapped - "It was difficult to breath, but I slowly moved the debris. Someone then pulled me out. I don't know where my friends are," says Dharmu Subedi, 36, from her hospital bed. She was standing next to the historic Dharahara tower when it collapsed.

12:39 GMT - Base camp - An avalanche at Everest base camp triggered by the quake killed at least 10 people, including foreign climbers, a Nepalese official says.

"We don't have the details yet but 10 have been reported dead so far, including foreign climbers," Gyanendra Kumar Shrestha from Nepal's tourism department tells AFP.


- Base camp -


11:56 GMT - Recap - - Hundreds have died in the 7.8 magnitude quake. Officials say the toll could climb much higher

- The US Geological Survey and India's meteorological service said the shallow quake struck 77 kilometres (48 miles) northwest of Kathmandu at 0611 GMT

- The quake ripped toppled office blocks in Kathmandu and triggered an avalanche that hit Everest base camp.

- More than two dozen people are reported killed in neighbouring India, China and Bangladesh.

11:47 GMT - Ruins - The worst damage has been reported in Kathmandu, where the historic nine-storey Dharahara Tower, a major tourist attraction, was among the buildings to have been toppled by the powerful quake.

At least a dozen bodies were taken away from the ruins of the 19th century tower, according to an AFP photographer who saw similar scenes of multiple casualties in other parts of the city.

11:46 GMT - 'City collapses' - The quake also ripped up highways in Kathmandu and also caused the closure of the country's only international airport.

Kari Cuelenaere, an official at the Dutch embassy, said the impact had swept the water out of a swimming pool at a Kathmandu hotel where Dutch national day was being celebrated.

"It was horrible. All of a sudden all the water came up out of the pool and drenched everyone, the children started screaming," Cuelenaere tells AFP. "Some parts of the city fell down, there was dust rising.... There were many (rescue) helicopters.

11:44 GMT - Everest rescue - The rescue operation on Mount Everest has been hampered by heavy snowfall, which is stopping helicopters from reaching the site of an avalanche.

"An avalanche from Mt. Pumori has hit the base camp, burying a part of it," Gyanendra Kumar Shrestha, an official in Nepal's tourism department told AFP.

"We are trying to assess how many are injured. There might be over 1,000 people there right now, including foreign climbers and Nepalese supporting staff."

11:33 GMT - Stampede in Bangladesh - The earthquake was also felt across large areas of Bangladesh, triggering panic in the capital Dhaka as people rushed out onto the streets.

In Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, at least 50 workers were injured after the quake set off a stampede in a garment factory, according to the private Jamuna television.

- Walls crumble -

11:28 GMT - India offers aid - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered to send assistance to neighbouring Nepal.

"We are in the process of finding more information and are working to reach out to those affected, both at home and in Nepal," Modi says in a tweet.

Indian officials have also provided more details on the extent of the quake, which was felt across the entire northern part of the country.

"More intense shocks were felt in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, equally strong in sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Sikkim," Laxman Singh Rathore, director-general of the Indian Meteorological Department, tells reporters.

11:22 GMT - Collapse - Reaction is starting to come through from Kathmandu, as people describe how the walls of their houses started to crumble under the intense force of the earthquake.

"The walls of houses have collapsed around me onto the road. All the families are outside in their yards huddled together," an AFP reporter in Kathmandu says.

Another resident recounts scenes of panic and mayhem.

"Everything started shaking. Everything fell down. The walls around the main road have collapsed. The national stadium's gates have collapsed," Anupa Shrestha says.

11:20 GMT - Trapped - A total of 700 climbers are in Solukhumbhu district that includes Everest, with 300 thought to be at base camp itself, deputy superintendent of police Chandra Dev Rai says.

"We are trying to reach them to see if they are safe, but the phones are not working," he told AFP from Solukhumbhu town, through which climbers pass en route to the mountain.

11:16 GMT - Please pray - Another climber, Daniel Mazur, says his team is trapped at camp one higher up the mountain.

"A Massive earthquake just hit Everest. Base camp has been severely damaged. Our team is caught in camp 1. Please pray for everyone," he tweeted.

11:12 GMT - 'Ran for their lives' - More information is starting to emerge on an avalanche that has ripped through the Everest base camp.

AFP Nepal bureau chief Ammu Kannampilly was travelling in the area and reports that foreign climbers and sherpas had to run for their lives as the quake triggered a "huge avalanche" which smashed into the base camp.

"We got caught in an earthquake on Everest. We are both OK... snowing here so no choppers coming," she said in an SMS on approach to base camp while on assignment.

However, two experienced mountaineers reported that panic erupted at base camp which was full of climbing teams and had been "severely damaged".

"Running for life from my tent. Unhurt. Many, many people up the mountain," tweeted Romanian climber Alex Gavan who had been preparing to climb nearby Lhotse -- the world's fourth highest mountain.

11:04 GMT - Kathmandu landmark - A large rescue operation is taking place in Kathmandu, where at least a dozen bodies have been taken away from the ruins of the landmark Dharahara Tower, an AFP photographer says.

- Historic tower collapses -

10:59 GMT - National disaster - Nepalese police say the death toll has risen to 449.

"The death toll based on information received on our network across the country has reached 449," national police spokesman Kamal Singh Bam tells AFP.

"Deaths have been reported from all regions except the far west. All our security personnel have been deployed to rescue and assist those in need," he adds

10:56 GMT - Panic in India - Reports are starting to trickle through that at least three people were killed in northern India while buildings in New Delhi had to be evacuated.

Witnesses say the tremors lasted between 30 seconds and two minutes.


10:51 GMT - Tremors felt on Everest - Climbers on Mount Everest have been caught up in the tragedy.

"We got caught in an earthquake on Everest. We are both OK...snowing here so no choppers coming," an AFP reporter said in an SMS on approach to base camp.

- Avalanche on Everest -

10:49 GMT - Rising death toll - A senior Nepalese diplomat is warning that the final toll could run into many hundreds.

"We have received reports that there is a big loss of property and life in Nepal," Krishna Prasad Dhakal, the deputy chief of mission at Nepal's embassy in New Delhi, tells AFP.

"Possibly hundreds of people have died in various parts of the country, particularly in Kathmandu and Pokhara."

10:41 GMT - Ground zero - The United States Geological Survey and India's meteorological service say the quake struck 77 kilometres (48 miles) northwest of Kathmandu at 0611 GMT.

10:26 GMT - Death toll - Nepalese officials say at least 114 people were killed in the powerful quake but warn the toll could be many times higher, while casualties are also reported in neighbouring India and Bangladesh.

10:23 GMT - WELCOME TO AFP'S LIVE REPORT on the developing situation in Nepal, where hundreds of people are feared dead after a powerful earthquake ripped through large parts of the country.

The massive 7.8 magnitude quake toppled office blocks and towers in the panic-stricken capital Kathmandu and the tremors were felt across the region in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.

Stay with us for updates on the rescue operation in Nepal

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