Nepal earthquake: Death toll passes 4,300; 4 Americans among dead, State Dept. says

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KATHMANDU, Nepal (CNN) — The toll from the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday has increased to 4,310 people killed and 7,953 injured, according to Nepal’s Home Ministry.

Laxmi Dhakal, the spokesperson for the Home Ministry, tells CNN the government does not yet have an assessment of the number of people missing.

Thedesperate search for survivors from the country’s worst natural disaster in more than 80 years continued.

As day broke Monday, Nepal was still in survival mode after suffering a series of aftershocks following the huge initial quake on Saturday.

The damage was everywhere. Stunned residents wandered the streets of Kathmandu, the capital city of roughly 3 million people that’s now the focus of international disaster relief efforts.

People dug through piles of debris where their homes once stood, seeking pieces of their former lives and, possibly, family members. Many of the injured were treated outside overflowing hospitals, where crowds of people gathered looking for relatives.

Dhakal, the government spokesman, said Monday 6,525 people were reported to have been injured.

One video aired on Nepal State Television captured a rare bright moment amid the death and devastation.

It shows uniformed officers digging though rubble, desperately trying to free a man who is hurt but alive. Rescuers lift him up, and cheers of joy erupt from the crowd. The clip shows him being put on a stretcher and carried to safety.

But often, searchers have found bodies rather than survivors. And the odds of saving the living decrease as the crucial first 72 hours tick by.

Data pix.

Panorama of devastation

The earthquake and its aftershocks have turned one of the world's most scenic regions into a panorama of devastation.

"The journey towards my family home in Sitapaila was a map of quake destruction, with many houses -- old and new -- torn apart," wrote freelance journalist Sunir Pandey.

Four U.S. citizens among dead

Four Americans were confirmed to be among the dead.

Google executive Dan Fredinburg was one of them. According to an Instagram post by his sister on his account, an avalanche killed Fredinburg on Mount Everest.

Marisa Eve Girawong, who went by her middle name, of New Jersey also was killed by an avalanche on Everest. The physician's assistant was working as an Everest base camp doctor for Seattle-based Madison Mountaineering, when she was swept away to her death.

Tom Taplin, a filmmaker from Santa Monica, California, was making a documentary on Everest climbers, when wind stirred by the avalanche caused him to take a fall, CNN affiliate KABC reported.

Vinh Truong, a Vietnamese-American who was on a 10-day hiking trip was also killed. He died on Mount Everest at the base camp, U.S. State Department Jeff Rathke said in press briefing.

Farther out across Nepal's rugged landscape -- closer to the epicenter of Saturday's magnitude-7.8 quake -- the situation is disturbingly murky.

"Information about remote areas is severely lacking at this time," said Devendra Singh Tak, an official with Save the Children, noting that roads were blocked and communications unreliable.

Data pix.

Reports of 'total or near total destruction'

Patchy reports have filtered through of entire villages leveled by the quake or engulfed by landslides.

"Some of the initial surveys that we're hearing of from the zones closer to the epicenter talk about total or near total destruction," said Jeremy Konyndyk, director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Tak, who is in Kathmandu, told CNN that Save the Children and other aid groups were sending out teams Monday to more remote areas. The Nepalese government said it was flying helicopters to places it couldn't reach by road.

"That's where one needs to get out and conduct rescue and relief," Tak said.

UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency, said Sunday that nearly 1 million Nepalese children urgently need assistance.

China, India, France, Italy, Britain, Canada, the United States, Australia, Taiwan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Switzerland were among the nations sending aid and search and rescue crews.

Among those aid organizations deploying to Nepal is Medical Teams International. Here is its link if you wish to donate.

 

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