Nepal earthquake death toll above 4,500

Number of dead rises above 4,500 in Nepal, India and Tibet as emergency services continue rescue operations

With aid pledges pouring in for the Nepali victims of Saturday’s devastating earthquake, the death toll has climbed to 4,455 as rescuers continue to unearth victims.

Around 8,300 people have also been found injured since the quake, according to figures released by Nepali police on Tuesday, as emergency services workers continued to search the remains of collapsed buildings.

Home ministry spokesman Laxmi Dhakal confirmed the figures above 4,300 and said the government is focusing on rescue and relief efforts. 

The U.N. said in an update published Monday night that an estimated 8 million people in 39 districts have been affected by the earthquake. 

It also reported that 1.4 million are in need of food aid and more than half of them were people living near the epicenter of the quake in poor quality rural housing. 

The home ministry’s disaster response unit earlier reported that almost 2,000 houses have been completely destroyed in Nepal. The figure does not cover the destruction in remote areas, where villages have reportedly been almost entirely wiped out. 

The worst-hit regions have been the Kathmandu Valley, where 1,441 have died, and the central region where 2,757 have been killed.

According to the home ministry, 18 people were killed on Mount Everest after the earthquake triggered a landslide. There have been 13 bodies recovered so far, including nine Nepalis and four foreigners. 

A further 72 people were also killed in India, according to India’s home secretary L.C. Govak. Chinese state media reported 25 deaths in Tibet.

The World Health Organization posted on Twitter on Monday night that the first of 20 emergency medical teams registered with them were arriving to support Nepali doctors, who have been overloaded by the scale of the disaster. 

Makeshift hospitals have been set-up to support Kathmandu’s hospitals, which have been pushed far beyond capacity. 

Concerns about access to clean water and sanitation is mounting as thousands of people remain displaced, forced to camp in open spaces due to continuing aftershocks. 

“As people stay in the camps for a long time, we will have a crisis of sanitation there,” said Anu Gautham, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene cluster coordinator at UNICEF Kathmandu. “There will be issues of diarrhea and cholera and the likelihood is that there’ll be epidemics in the big camp areas.”

India has sent an expert team to aid in restoring Nepal’s power. Power disruptions and congested phone networks have hindered relief efforts. 

The international community has pledged millions of dollars in aid to Nepal and numerous governments — including regional neighbors China, India and Pakistan — have sent specialist search and rescue teams to aid the emergency response. 

Turkey also contributed to search and rescue efforts with specialist teams and sent emergency aid toNepal. 

Nepalis have remained on edge since Saturday’s magnitude-7.8 quake destroyed buildings, ripped up roads and set off avalanches in the Himalayas, including one which tore through the Mount Everest base camp, where at least 17 people died. 

A second earthquake on Sunday afternoon, measuring magnitude-6.7 according to the U.S. Geological Survey, raised fears of further building collapses.

The earthquake, the worst to hit the Himalayan nation since 1934, destroyed many old buildings and ruptured roads while telephone and Internet communication was severely disrupted.

Kathmandu’s old district, which was home to numerous protected historical sites, has been the worst hit according to officials.

Several historic temples have collapsed, including several in the iconic Durbar Square. The historic 62-meter tall Dharahara tower in central Kathmandu, was also brought crashing down by the quake.