Rolling coverage of developments in Himalayan nation following 7.9 magnitude quake near Kathmandu.
- More than 1,000 people have been reported dead after a huge 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal
- The country’s deputy prime minister, Bamdev Gautam, has declared a state of emergency and appealed for humanitarian assistance across the region.
- 18 climbers were found dead on Mount Everest after the tremor triggered an avalanche. Many more are trapped.
- The total death toll has risen quickly throughout the day, and is now thought to include at least 634 in the Kathmandu Valley and 300 more in the capital.
- 36 people have also been reported dead India, 12 in China, four in Bangladesh and six in Tibet.
- The quake caused dozens of buildings in Kathmandu to collapse, including the historic Dharahara Tower.
- The city’s main hospital is overwhelmed by casualties and residents are facing a night on the streets with nowhere to go.
- Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has ordered an immediate dispatch of relief and medical teams to Nepal, and the evacuation of Indian tourists.
- UK foreign secretary Philip Hammond said the government was in close contact with Nepal, and the British Embassy is offering assistance to the authorities and British Nationals in the country.
Updated at 4.53pm BST
The total death toll from the earthquake has risen again, to 1,130.
A Nepali police spokesman said the latest figure included at least 634 people in the Kathmandu Valley and at least 300 more in the capital.
Updated at 5.20pm BST
More from Anna Codrea-Rado in Nepal:
In an open space, people have taken refuge where a yoga retreat was supposed to be happening. The space had been set up with ground coverings and awnings for the yoga retreat, which turned into a makeshift shelter for the victims.
Three children were huddled under a blanket on the green ground covering. Ragan Karki, 16, said he and his siblings had come to seek shelter for the night and they were waiting for their parents to join them.
The Karki siblings had been in their third floor apartment across the road from the park the quake began. “I stayed inside and hid under the table and then came outside. No one in my family was injured,” Karki said.
His 12-year-old brother Ryan said: “I was scared, but I didn’t cry.”
Two women with a seven-year-old girl said they planned to spend the night outdoors because they felt safer than being in their house. The airport in Kathmandu was closed for most of the afternoon but reportedly reopened at about 7pm local time, but flights in and out of the country were still suspended.
Updated at 5.21pm BST
The Guardian’s Anna Codrea-Rado has been talking to doctors and victims in Kathamndu’s main hospital. She sent this moving account:
Victims [in Kathmandu] were taken to the nearby Bir Emergency Hospital, where doctors battled to save lives and treat the wounded.
Gajendra Mani Shah, a doctor, told the Guardian that the hospital was dealing mainly with head traumas and limb injuries from falling rubble. He estimated that the hospital had treated about 400 patients.
Shah was treating two Indian tourists with head injuries and said the hospital authorities were trying to get hold of the Indian embassy to inform them of the patients’ situation.
Victims were lying in rows on mattresses, surrounded by blood-soaked tissues and overflowing bedpans. Patients also lined the corridors, hooked up to IVs hanging off metal railings behind them.
One family were sat with their 20-year-old relative, Kanchan Sunwar, who had collapsed when the earthquake struck. She had been with friends in the main square when they saw the buildings sway and start to fall.
Her friends said she fainted and had been in and out of conscious since she was brought to the hospital. “She’s in shock,” her family said.
The hospital was working over capacity into the evening, with doctors being called in from leave.
One doctor, Erabesh Gyawali was not meant to be on shift on Saturday, but he came into work after the first tremor hit. He was with his wife riding their scooter when the quake happened. They were thrown off the bike and narrowly missed being hit by falling rubble from a building.
Updated at 5.23pm BST
The foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, has issued a statement in response to the earthquake in Nepal:
My thoughts are with the people of Nepal and everyone affected by the terrible loss of life and widespread damage caused by the earthquake.
We are in close contact with the Nepalese government. The British Embassy in Nepal is offering our assistance to the authorities and is providing consular assistance to British Nationals.
It’s evening in Nepal now, so rescue workers are trying to get to the most vulnerable people who now have nowhere to sleep for the night. Weather forecasts say temperatures will dip to 12°C (54°F) overnight in Kathmandu, though obviously it is likely to be a far colder at higher altitudes.
Experts say that the death toll is likely to rise substantially in the coming days, partly because of the poor communication and access to some of the regions more remote areas.
BBC is now putting the death toll at 970, with 539 of the victims in the Kathmandu Valley.
18 people found dead on Mount Everest
An Indian army mountaineering team has found 18 bodies on Mount Everest, an army spokesman has said.
Gyanendra Shrestha of the country’s tourism ministry told Reuters that the death toll could rise. He confirmed that the avalanche had buried part of the base camp and two tents had been filled with casualties.
Ministry officials estimated that at least 1,000 climbers, including about 400 foreigners, had been at base camp or on Everest when the earthquake struck.
Updated at 4.06pm BST
Tanya Barron, Plan International’s UK chief executive, is in Biratnagar in Nepal. She has described her experience in the earthquake:
We are 500km from the epicentre in Biratnagar but we still felt the earthquake strongly. We were in a three story building on the roof deck and the building shook violently for around two minutes. A bit stronger and it would have collapsed. People were screaming and running out of their houses, dogs were barking like mad. We took shelter under door lintels and once the movement stopped we ran downstairs, which is when the aftershock started .
Ishwar Rauniyar has spoken to Subarna Khadka, a resident in Kathmandu, who says he was bathing when the first tremor happened.
I tried to come out hurriedly when i experienced the shake, but couldn’t come outside as the door was jammed. I almost lost my hope of life, as I was trapped in the bathroom. But my wife rescued me once the shaking got quiet. I could only pray to god for life.
Source: The Guardian