The death toll in Nepal from a severe earthquake on Saturday has risen over 1300, a police spokesman said. Of the total, 634 were reported dead in the Kathmandu Valley and at least 300 more in the capital.
Earlier, a home ministry official said that 181 people had died in the capital Kathmandu in the quake, which measured 7.9 on the Richter scale.
The powerful quake destroyed several buildings including a UNESCO World Heritage site and the centuries-old Dharhara tower in the heart of the capital trapping scores of people.
The earthquake with epicentre at Lamjung, around 80 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu, had its impact in several cities in Bihar and West Bengal and eastern India. It was also felt in China and as far as Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The quake measured 7.9, the US Geological Survey said. A number of aftershocks were felt for a long time. Witnesses and media reports said the quake tremors lasted between 30 seconds and two minutes.
Several buildings in the densely-populated Kathmandu Valley collapsed killing more than 70 people, a home ministry official said.
Kathmandu’s Darbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was completely damaged in the quake. The official said so far more than 150 people have been reported killed.
The earthquake first struck around 11:56 am followed by aftershocks, Nepal Police spokesperson Kamal Singh Ban said.
“There are some casualties in Pokhra. In Gorkha district 10-12 people have been killed,” he said. There is a breakdown in communication. “We are collecting information and mobilising forces for evacuation,” he said.
Indian Embassy spokesperson Abhay Kumar said some walls have collapsed in the impact of the major earthquake and the embassy has set up two helplines.
“I see many old walls have fallen because it was a major earthquake. And aftershocks of the earthquake that are pretty strong were still being felt. People are still outside,” he said.
The landmark Dharhara tower in the centre of the capital collapsed and several people are feared trapped.
Nepal’s Kantipur TV showed at least 21 bodies lined up on ground after the earthquake. Doctors at the main civil hospital here said 36 bodies have arrived so far after quake. Television pictures showed some of the rescued being rushed to hospitals.
Live updates below
9.20 pm: The death toll in Nepal from a severe earthquake on Saturday has risen to 1,130, a police spokesman said.
We have contacted Baba Ramdev in Kathmandu. He wishes to be there in this hour of crisis.
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) April 25, 2015
7.00 pm: Calls from BSNL network to Nepal charged as local calls for next 3 days.
6.30 pm: We have mobilised all resources to support Nepal in the wake of devastating earthquake: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
6.00 pm: First IAF aircraft lands at Kathmandu with relief personnel, equipment.
5.28 pm: Karnataka CMO: 85 people from state rescued in Biratnagar, Nepal. They will travel to Varanasi tomorrow and reach home.
5.15 pm: At least 17 persons were killed and 48 injured in roof and wall collapse in Bihar after a high intensity earthquake rocked several parts of the country and Nepal today.
5.06 pm: 4 NDRF teams from the battalion stationed at Bathinda moved to Nepal by air for relief ops.
4.30 pm: Avalanche triggered by quake buries part of Nepal Everest Base camp, eight dead: Tourism official.
4.25 pm: First C-130 has taken off from Hindon airbase. NDRF plus rescue equipment. IAF has MI-17 helicopter units at Gorakhpur and Bagdogra. Closest to Nepal. Likely to be pressed into service. Gorakhpur likely to be the base in India for these rescue and relief operations in Nepal.
4.20 pm: At Tribhuvan international airport that shares boundary with domestic airport,the air traffic towers went unmanned for hours because of the tremor shocks. Landing and take off of international flights have been suspended as the government is taking stock of the situation.
4.00 pm: Nepal death toll from quake rises to 449: police
2: 57 pm: Kathmandu main civil hospital says 36 bodies counted so far after quake, scores are being treated, says a doctor according to Reuters.
[Watch video below]
2:52 pm: Google has launched a Person Finder instance to help track missing persons for the Nepal earthquake.
2: 50 pm: A group of 20 people from Malkajgiri area of Hyderabad had a narrow escape. They were in the fourth floor of a hotel in Kathmandu when the tremors hit. They ran down to safety.
2: 45 pm: “I saw buildings around me collapse. For a moment, I felt I would die. Later, I helped the police pull out a couple of people from the rubble,” IndianExpress.com journalist Abhimanyu Chakraborty phoned in to report from Kathmandu. Abhimanyu was at the famous Swayambhunath Temple at the time of the earthquake.
He, however, said there were no fatalities reported in the area so far, though some people have been injured by the falling debris. The area is being hit by frequent aftershocks since the first quake.
2.11 pm: Kathmandu emergency numbers – 09771 4261945/ 4261790
2 pm: A house has collapsed in Siliguri’s Pradhan Nagar in West Bengal following the tremors.