3 Americans Confirmed Dead in Nepal Earthquake as Death Toll Climbs to 2,300

This is the most severe earthquake to hit Nepal since 1934

Photo: EPA/Landov

At least 6,800 people have been killed or injured following a massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake early Saturday near the Nepal capital of Kathmandu, with casualties in neighboring India and Tibet, CNN reports.

Three Americans are among the 2,300-plus dead, the State Department told Reuters, including Google executive Dan Fredinburg.

Nepalese residents so far have been exposed to dozens of aftershocks and at least one deadly avalanche on nearby Mount Everest; and officials say many buildings have been leveled.

A powerful aftershock struck again on Sunday morning near Everest, with an estimated magnitude of 6.7, the U.S. Geological Survey told CNN.

The Dharahara tower, built in 1832, was one of the structures lost to the Saturday quake. It was “packed with people” when it collapsed, a reporter on the scene told CNN – at least 50 bodies have been pulled from the remains.

“In accessible cities, many hills of rubble have yet to reveal all the bodies of people who were inside the buildings when they collapsed,” CNN reports.

Many rural areas were hit as well, officials told CNN. The death toll will continue to climb.

“If you look at the spread of the earthquake, a lot of the rural areas have been hit as well. The information we received from the field is that 80 percent of the houses in these rural areas have been destroyed,” a CARE International official told CNN.

Though Nepal is seismically active, authorities says its citizens haven’t experienced an earthquake of this magnitude in 80 years, according to CNN. And aid workers are now concerned with conditions for survivors in the days to come, as there is an urgent need for food, clothing and medicine.

The government, infamously paralyzed by years of gridlock, has been “entirely overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenge,” reports The New York Times, and thousands of citizens have taken to the streets for safety.

“People here are in a panic, and every aftershock contributes to that. They are not going indoors, they are staying in the roads and in open areas. Many are searching for family members,” one Kathmandu man told the Times in an email.

Sixteen relief stations have been set up across the country, Nepal government officials told the paper. China, India and Israel, among other countries, have pledged support. Rescue efforts continue.

“With every minute the situation becomes worse,” an aid worker told CNN.

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