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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, January 18, 2018

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Nations rally to provide support as Nepal earthquake death toll increases

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck an area of the country

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KATHMANDU, Nepal - More than 2,300 people have died following the deadliest earthquake in Nepal for more than 80 years, according to police.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck an area of the country between the capital, Kathmandu, and the city of Pokhara, but deaths were also reported in India, Bangladesh, Tibet and on Mount Everest.

An avalanche on the mountain killed eight people.

The government of Nepal has declared a state of emergency in the affected areas, and the international community has rallied to help, with several countries around the world offering support.

Little is known about the state of affairs in the epicentre, where extensive damage has been reported, and there are fears the death toll could rise much further.

The United States has announced it is sending a disaster response team to the country and has released an initial US $1-million to address immediate needs, according to USAid.

A military transport plane with three tonnes of supplies and a 40-strong disaster response team has been sent by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Officials have indicated three more planes would follow, carrying a mobile hospital and further relief teams. Pakistan's Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has also pledged help for the Nepalese authorities.

Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom has said Britain "will do all" it can to help those suffering in the aftermath of the earthquake, while French President Francois Hollande said France was ready to respond to any request for aid and assistance.

The death toll was initially reported as more than 1,150, later confirmed at 1,800, but by Sunday had pushed above 2,300 but with many more people still trapped under the rubble, rescuers are warning of a difficult week ahead for the country. Nepal Home Affairs spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal said Sunday the so-far confirmed deaths in Nepal were 2,263. Another 56 people have died in India, mostly in the state of Bihar. One death has also been reported in Bangladesh following what is regarded as the worst earthquake to strike Nepal since 1934 when 8,500 were killed.

Local television footage showed rescuers in Kathmandu, where many historic buildings were destroyed, desperately digging through rubble with their bare hands in search of survivors.> BNN

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