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Dublin: 20 °C Tuesday 16 July, 2019
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Nepal quake death toll surges over 3,000

It’s the Himalayan nation’s deadliest disaster in more than 80 years.

OFFICIALS SAY THE death toll from the earthquake that struck Nepal has reached more than 3,300 people.

It is believed there are 100 Irish people in the area. The Department of Foreign Affairs said contact has been established with many of these people but said lines of communication have been affected so the process may take some time.

An emergency response team has been established to handle calls from family members concerned for Irish citizens who may be stranded in Nepal.

Rescue teams deployed 

International rescue teams with sniffer dogs raced to find survivors buried in the rubble.

GOAL said it has dispatched an emergency response team to Nepal, with SEO Barry Andrews stating they are expecting the numbers of dead and injured to be significant.

Teams equipped with heavy cutting gear and relief supplies were landing round the clock at the country’s only international airport on the outskirts of Kathmandu, which has been devastated by Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude quake.

Nepal Everest Avalanche A rescue chopper prepares to land, carrying people from higher camps to Everest Base Camp today. Source: AP/Press Association Images

It triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, which buried part of base camp and killed at least 18 people.

And aftershocks set off fresh avalanches on the mountain Sunday even as helicopters evacuated some of those worst injured the day before.

Hundreds of mountaineers had gathered at Everest at the start of the annual climbing season, and the real scale of the disaster there has been impossible to evaluate with communications all but cut off.

Nepal Everest Avalanche A a person critically injured in an avalanche is carried on a stretcher to be evacuated out of Everest Base Camp yesterday. Source: AP/Press Association Images

“We have deployed three helicopters today to bring climbers down from camp one and two. They are safe but we need to bring them down because part of the route is damaged,” tourism department head Tulsi Gautam said.

“It is possible that climbing might not continue this year. However, there has been no official decision.”

Mountaineers, such as Alax Gavan, who are involved in rescue efforts, have been tweeting updates.

Deadliest disaster in more than 80 years

Officials say more than 3,300 people are now known to have died, including 3,218 in Nepal – making it the quake-prone Himalayan nation’s deadliest disaster in more than 80 years.

Families, the sick and elderly packed into parks and other open spaces in Kathmandu after losing their houses, with others too terrified of aftershocks to return home.

“This is a nightmare, why don’t these aftershocks stop?” asked 70-year-old Sanu Ranjitkar, clutching her dog and with an oxygen mask strapped to her face, sitting under a tarpaulin.

With just sheets of plastic to protect them from the cold and rain, many said they were desperate for aid and information on what to do next.

Nepal Earthquake Source: AP/Press Association Images

“There is just too much fear and confusion,” said Bijay Sreshth, as he tried to listen to a radio in the hope of hearing a message from the government.

“We don’t know what to do next or for how much longer we are here,” said Sreshth, who fled to a park with his three children, wife and mother when the quake hit.

A government official said tonnes of clean water and other essential supplies were needed for the survivors as well as stepped up search and rescue efforts outside the capital.

“We need more helicopters for our rescue operations in rural areas,” home minister spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal told AFP.

“We also need supplies of essential goods such as food and clean water to provide relief for survivors,” he said.

Saturday’s earthquake also killed around 90 people in neighbouring countries, including at least 67 in India and 20 in China.

- © AFP, 2015 Additional reporting Christina Finn 

Read: There are 100 Irish people in areas affected by the Nepal earthquake>

Related: Reports of fresh avalanche near Everest as Nepal death toll tops 2,000 >

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