Nepal began the slow recovery process Sunday from the country's worst earthquake in 80 years. Tent cities popped up and desperate relief efforts were underway as the death toll rose toward 2,500, and aftershocks complicated rescue missions.
Nearly 40 percent of the country was devastated during Saturday's 7.8-magnitude temblor, according to the United Nations Development Program.
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"The aftershocks keep coming ... so people don't know what to expect," Sanjay Karki, Nepal country head for global aid agency Mercy Corps, told the Associated Press. "All the open spaces in Kathmandu are packed with people who are camping outdoors. When the aftershocks come you cannot imagine the fear. You can hear women and children crying."
â€” The Kathmandu Post (@kathmandupost) April 26, 2015
The earthquake wrecked 80 percent of the temples in Bhaktapur, the BBC reported, and Kathmandu landmarks like the nine-story Dharahara Tower collapsed, trapping locals and visitors inside. Durbar Square was decimated.
The quake also triggered an avalanche on nearby Mount Everest, killing at least 17 people and injuring 61 on the world's tallest mountain. "Everybody’s pretty much in rescue mode, but this is different from some independent climbing accident where people can be rescued and taken somewhere else," Alpine Ascents International director Gordon Janow told the Guardian. “I don’t know where ‘somewhere else’ is.”
The Wall Street Journal reported local hospitals were already overstretched Sunday as they tried to treat the more than 6,000 injured. Food and water were scarce, and roads were cracked.
"We have launched a massive rescue and rehabilitation action plan and lots needs to be done," Nepalese Information and Broadcasting Minister Minendra Rijal said. "Our country is in a moment of crisis, and we will require tremendous support and aid."
BREAKING PHOTO: A village in Gorkha that was near the epicenter of Nepal Earthquake. (Ujyaalo Online) pic.twitter.com/TlrJaXI2Xc
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Countries like India, China, Canada, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the United States have already sent disaster assistance, medical supplies, and search and rescue teams to Nepal, NBC News reported. The United Kingdom and European Union have also pledged to pitch in.