Following a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal at about noon on Saturday, April 26, the death toll continues to rocket.
With the initial deaths count put at 688 – updated report say over 1, 900 people have been confirmed dead so far, and officials say it could still rise.
Reports say world’s tallest mountain, Everest, is threatened as the quake triggered a mass of ice falling rapidly down at the mountain base camp. About 18 climbers have been reported dead, and some British nationals who were among the tourists are missing.
One of those killed at the base camp was a Google engineer and avid climber, Dan Fredinburg, who had sought to take the company’s Street View project to the world’s highest mountains. “Sadly, we lost one of our own,” Google said in a statement.
The quake started from outside Kathmandu, the South Asian country’s capital, and the effect hit neighbouring countries like India, Bangladesh, Tibet and Pakistan, leaving a total of 50 people dead.
AP reports that hospitals in Nepal are overcrowded and health workers overwhelmed – they are out of rooms to store dead bodies and lacking enough emergency supplies to treat hundreds of injured people being brought in at quick intervals.
Speaking to AP, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon said, "the reports of the devastation are still coming in and the numbers of people killed, injured and affected by this earthquake continue to rise. It is clear that very many lives have been lost. There has also been significant damage to Nepal's irreplaceable cultural heritage."
Nepal is best known for tourism, its rich Hindu culture and adventure, especially trekking and Himalayan mountain climbing.
But with its biggest cultural heritage, world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest slightly affected in the quake disaster, it is more than likely that the base camp, or any tourist centre for that matter, will not be open for usual business in months to come, which will put a huge strain its the economy.
The poor country of about 27.8 million people relies heavily on tourism.