The death toll for the magnitude 7.9 earthquake that struck Nepal and surrounding areas has surpassed 2,200 people, with around 4,625 people believed injured, following a major, magnitude 6.7 aftershock.
Rescuers dug with their bare hands and bodies piled up in Nepal on Sunday after an earthquake devastated the heavily crowded Kathmandu Valley, killing more than 2,200 people, and triggered a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest.
A big aftershock between Kathmandu and Everest unleashed more avalanches in the Himalayas. In the capital, hospital workers stretchered patients out onto the street to treat them as it was too dangerous to keep them indoors.
“Another one, we have an aftershock right now” said Indian climber Arjun Vajpai over the phone from Makalu base camp near Everest. “Avalanche!” he shouted. Screams and the roar of crashing snow could be heard over the line as he spoke.
The aftershock, measured at magnitude 6.7, was the most powerful since Saturday’s 7.9 quake – itself the strongest since Nepal’s worst earthquake disaster of 1934 that killed 8,500 people.
The aftershock rocked buildings in the Indian capital New Delhi and halted the city metro.
“There is no way one can forecast the intensity of aftershocks so people need to be alert for the next few days,” said L.S. Rathore, chief of India’s state-run weather office.
In Everest’s worst disaster, the bodies of 17 climbers were recovered from the mountain on Sunday after being caught in avalanches. A plane carrying the first 15 injured climbers landed in Kathmandu at around noon local time.
“There is a lot of confusion on the mountain. The toll will rise,” said Gelu Sherpa, one of the walking wounded among the first 15 injured climbers flown to Kathmandu. “Tents have been blown away,” said Sherpa, his head in bandages.
The main earthquake, centred 50 miles (80 km) east of Nepal’s second largest city, Pokhara, was a shallow earthquake, causing it too be more destructive.