Footage emerges of the moment avalanche hit Everest

REF: A wall of snow is seen flattening part of Mount Everest’s base camp during an avalanche triggered by Nepal’s worst earthquake in decades.

Dramatic footage showing the avalanche was posted on YouTube, a day after the magnitude 7.8 quake hit Nepal, killing more than 3,200 people across the country, injuring at least 5,000 and potentially displacing millions.The footage, posted by German climber Jost Kobusch, shows a group of climbers at the camp. They appeared relaxed as the ground started shaking, but the mood swiftly turned to panic as they realised a wall of snow, rock and ice was headed straight for them.

After the avalanche hit, the dazed and confused climbers emerged and began to look for other survivors in flattened tents amid chaos.

At least 17 people are known to have died at the camp so far in the deadliest avalanche in Mount Everest’s history. Some 1,000 climbers are believed to have been on the mountain when the avalanche hit.

Al Jazeera’s Victoria Gatenby said while helicopters had been deployed to collect some of the most seriously injured, the rescue operations had been hampered as aftershocks from the earthquake triggered more avalanches.

“Further up the mountain, many climbers remain trapped at Camp One and Camp Two,” Gatenby said.

“Concern is growing for those trapped on the mountain with limited food, fuel and water.”

Thousands of people, too frightened to venture indoors, are sleeping in the streets of Kathmandu [AP]

Anger over relief response

Meanwhile, thousands of displaced residents in the Nepali capital have expressed anger towards the government over its response to the disaster, as they camped out in the open, many without food and water.

As rescuers continued to dig through the rubble, the densely-populated capital faced a “chaotic situation”.

“People are very angry with the government for being left in the lurch,” said Al Jazeera’s Subina Shrestha, who is in Kathmandu.

Al Jazeera’s Faiz Jamil said their situation was worsened by an influx of “disaster tourists”, who had travelled to Kathmandu from other areas to view the damage.

Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons, who is also in Kathmandu, said “there’s a great worry about how people are going to get by”, with much instructure destroyed and no electricity.

He also reported that the frequent aftershocks, including one at magnitude 6.7 on Sunday morning, have rattled the already jittery survivors.

At overstretched hospitals, where medics were also treating patients in hastily erected tents, staff were forced to flee from buildings for fear of further collapses.

Hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley, the quake-affected region with 2.5 million people, were overcrowded, running out of emergency supplies and space to store corpses, the UN said in a statement.

At least 1,152 people were reported killed in the capital, but the toll was expected to rise as the extent of the destruction became clear.


Nepal: A day after the disaster


Relief agencies have already warned that as many as six million people might be affected by Saturday’s disaster.

Al Jazeera’s Simmons also reported congestion at the airport had slowed down the deployment of rescuers and medical staff to other parts of the country.

The Red Cross said it was concerned about the fate of rural villages close to the epicentre of the quake northwest of Kathmandu amid reports that many had been completely destroyed.

International aid groups and governments have sent emergency crews to reinforce those trying to find survivors in Kathmandu, and in rural areas cut off by blocked roads and patchy phone networks.

On Sunday, planeloads of supplies, firstly from India and Pakistan, had started to arrive in the capital, along with doctors and relief workers.

 

The number of casualties is expected to climb as reports come in from far-flung areas, Laxmi Dhakal, a home ministry official, said.

The quake destroyed expanses of the oldest neighbourhoods of Kathmandu, and was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China’s region of Tibet and Pakistan.

 What caused the Nepal earthquake?

At least 50 people were also killed in India, mostly in its eastern Bihar state.

Al Jazeera’s Maher Sattar, reporting from Dhaka, said at least three people were killed in Bangladesh, including one who was killed following a stampede arising from the quake.

Kathmandu’s historic nine-storey Dharahara tower, a major tourist attraction and a UNESCO-recognised historical monument, was among the buildings toppled by Saturday’s earthquake.

The disaster is likely to put a huge strain on the resources of this poor country best known for Everest, the highest mountain in the world. The economy of Nepal, a nation of 27.8 million people, relies heavily on tourism.

The world reacted quickly to the disaster, offering money, relief materials, equipment, expertise and rescue teams.

The powerful quake also triggered an avalanche that swept across Everest Base Camp [ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP]

 

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

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