Aftershocks terrify survivors of quake that killed 2,500
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP):
SHELL-SHOCKED AND sleeping in the streets, tens of thousands of Nepalese braced against terrifying aftershocks Sunday while digging for survivors in the devastation wrought a day earlier by a massive earthquake that ripped across this Himalayan nation and killed more than 2,500 people.
Acrid, white smoke rose above the nation's most revered Hindu temple, where dozens of bodies were being cremated at any given time.
Aid groups received the first word from remote mountain villages - reports that suggested many communities perched on mountainsides were devastated or struggling to cope.
Landslides hindered rescue teams that tried to use mountain trails to reach those in need, said Prakash Subedi, chief district official in the Gorkha region, where the quake was centred.
"Villages like this are routinely affected by landslides, and it's not uncommon for entire villages of 200, 300, up to 1,000 people to be completely buried by rock falls," said Matt Darvas, a member of the aid group World Vision. "It will likely be helicopter access only."
Saturday's magnitude 7.8 earthquake spread horror from Kathmandu to small villages and to the slopes of Mount Everest, triggering an avalanche that buried part of the base camp packed with foreign climbers preparing to make their summit attempts. At least 18 people died there and 61 were injured.
With people fearing more quakes, tens of thousands spent the day crowding in the streets and the night sleeping in parks or on a golf course. Others camped in open squares lined by cracked buildings and piles of rubble. Helicopter blades thudded periodically overhead.