Desperate Nepalis flee capital as aftershocks spread fear

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Aerial Footage Shows Quake Destruction in Nepal


(Reuters) - Thousands of Nepalis began fleeing the capital Kathmandu on Monday, terror-stricken by two days of powerful aftershocks and looming shortages of food and water after an earthquake that killed more than 3,700 people.

A senior interior ministry official said authorities had not been able to establish contact with some of the worst affected areas in the mountainous nation, and that the death toll could reach 5,000.

Roads leading out of Kathmandu were jammed with people, some with babies in their arms, trying to climb onto buses or hitch a ride aboard cars and trucks to the plains.

Huge queues had formed at the city's Tribhuvan International Airport, with tourists and residents desperate to get a flight out.

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Nepal damage
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Desperate Nepalis flee capital as aftershocks spread fear
BHAKTAPUR, NEPAL - 2015/05/02: Nepali residents sift through rubble to recover keys, coins, and other small items from the rubble of their home in Bhaktapur, Nepal on May 2, 2015. On April 25, 2015, Nepal suffered a magnitude 7.8 earthquake killing over 6,000 people and injuring thousands more. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Sita Karka, suffering two broken legs from Saturday's massive earthquake, arrives by helicopter from the heavily-damaged Ranachour village at a landing zone in the town of Gorkha, Nepal, Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Helicopters crisscrossed the skies above the high mountains of Gorkha district on Tuesday near the epicenter of the weekend earthquake, ferrying the injured to clinics, and taking emergency supplies back to remote villages devastated by the disaster. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Residents carry their belongings that were retrieved from ruins of their homes after Saturday's earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Many people have camped outdoors in the chilly night cold since Saturday’s massive earthquake that shook Nepal’s capital and the densely populated Kathmandu valley. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
A Nepalese policeman walks among earthquake debris in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu on April 28, 2015. Hungry and desperate villagers rushed towards relief helicopters in remote areas of Nepal on April 28, begging to be airlifted to safety, four days after a monster earthquake killed nearly 4,500 people. AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
An elderly woman with a broken hand from Saturday's massive earthquake, is assisted by Nepalese police as she arrives by helicopter from the heavily-damaged Ranachour village at a landing zone in the town of Gorkha, Nepal, Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Helicopters crisscrossed the skies above the high mountains of Gorkha district on Tuesday near the epicenter of the weekend earthquake, ferrying the injured to clinics, and taking emergency supplies back to remote villages devastated by the disaster.(AP Photo/Wally Santana)
A resident carries his belongings retrieved from the ruins of his home after Saturday's earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Many people have camped outdoors in the chilly night cold since Saturday’s massive earthquake that shook Nepal’s capital and the densely populated Kathmandu valley. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
A victim with a broken leg from Saturday's massive earthquake, is carried by Nepalese soldiers as she arrives by helicopter from the heavily-damaged Ranachour village at a landing zone in the town of Gorkha, Nepal, Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Helicopters crisscrossed the skies above the high mountains of Gorkha district on Tuesday near the epicenter of the weekend earthquake, ferrying the injured to clinics, and taking emergency supplies back to remote villages devastated by the disaster. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
A man carries a woman injured in an earthquake in Kathmandu on April 28, 2015. Hungry and desperate villagers rushed towards relief helicopters in remote areas of Nepal on April 28, begging to be airlifted to safety, four days after a monster earthquake killed nearly 4,500 people. AFP PHOTO / MANAN VATSYAYANA (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)
French rescue workers (back) and Spanish rescue workers (front) talk among earthquake debris in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu on April 28, 2015. Hungry and desperate villagers rushed towards relief helicopters in remote areas of Nepal on April 28, begging to be airlifted to safety, four days after a monster earthquake killed nearly 4,500 people. AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese Military Police officials search through rubble in the earthquake damaged area of Bhaktapur on the outskirts of Kathmandu on April 28, 2015. Hungry and desperate villagers rushed towards relief helicopters in remote areas of Nepal, begging to be airlifted to safety, four days after a monster earthquake killed nearly 4,500 people. AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese residents gather in an open space at the site of destruction caused after Saturday's earthquake in Bhaktapur, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, Monday, April 27, 2015. A strong magnitude earthquake shook Nepal’s capital and the densely populated Kathmandu valley on Saturday devastating the region and leaving tens of thousands shell-shocked and sleeping in streets. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
Nepalese people look at a cracked road after an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015. A strong magnitude 7.8 earthquake shook Nepal's capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
Map locates deadly earthquakes since 2000; 2c x 6 1/4 inches; 96.3 mm x 158 mm;
KATHMANDU, NEPAL - APRIL 26: Local people and soldiers inspect debris of destroyed buildings after a powerful earthquake hits Katmandu, Nepal on April 26, 2015. The death toll in Nepal climbed towards 2,500 on Sunday as rescuers unearthed the victims of a powerful earthquake. There have been 773 people killed in Nepals densely-populated capital Kathmandu, while the Himalayan nations central region, close to the epicenter of Saturdays 7.8-magnitude quake, has seen 1,055 deaths. (Photo by Sunil Pradhan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Nepalese residents walk past road damage following an earthquake in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. International aid groups and governments intensified efforts to get rescuers and supplies into earthquake-hit Nepal on April 26, 2015, but severed communications and landslides in the Himalayan nation posed formidable challenges to the relief effort. As the death toll surpassed 2,000, the US together with several European and Asian nations sent emergency crews to reinforce those scrambling to find survivors in the devastated capital Kathmandu and in rural areas cut off by blocked roads and patchy phone networks. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese policemen clear the debris at Basantapur Durbar Square, damaged in Saturday’s earthquake, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015. The earthquake centered outside Kathmandu, the capital, was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in over 80 years. It destroyed swaths of the oldest neighborhoods of Kathmandu, and was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China's region of Tibet and Pakistan.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
India's National Disaster Response Force personnel look for survivors in a building, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015. Sleeping in the streets and shell-shocked, Nepalese cremated the dead and dug through rubble for the missing Sunday, a day after a massive Himalayan earthquake devastated the region and destroyed homes and infrastructure. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Rubble from damage caused by Saturday's earthquake lie in front of an old building at Basantapur Durbar Square in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015. The earthquake centered outside Kathmandu, the capital, was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in over 80 years. It destroyed swaths of the oldest neighborhoods of Kathmandu, and was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China's region of Tibet and Pakistan.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Nepalese policemen look for survivors in the debris of a building that collapsed in an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal ,Sunday, April 26, 2015. Sleeping in the streets and shell-shocked, Nepalese cremated the dead and dug through rubble for the missing Sunday, a day after a massive Himalayan earthquake devastated the region and destroyed homes and infrastructure. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Nepalese people, staying in makeshift tents in an open ground from fears of earthquake tremors, stand in a queue to receive drinking water in Kathmandu, Nepal ,Sunday, April 26, 2015. The earthquake centered outside Kathmandu, the capital, was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in over 80 years. It destroyed swaths of the oldest neighborhoods of Kathmandu, and was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China's region of Tibet and Pakistan. (AP Photo / Niranjan Shrestha)
Nepalese rest outdoors, a day after a massive earthquake devastated the region and destroyed homes and infrastructure, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015. Sleeping in the streets and shell-shocked, Nepalese cremated the dead and dug through rubble for the missing Sunday even as the worst of the aftershocks, magnitude 6.7, pummeled the capital city. (AP Photo/Bikram Rai)
Flames rise from burning funeral pyres during the cremation of victims of Saturday's earthquake, at the Pashupatinath temple on the banks of Bagmati river, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015. The earthquake centered outside Kathmandu, the capital, was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in over 80 years. It destroyed swaths of the oldest neighborhoods of Kathmandu, and was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China's region of Tibet and Pakistan.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Family members break down during the cremation of an earthquake victim in Bhaktapur near Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015. A strong magnitude 7.8 earthquake shook Nepal's capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
Indian nationals stand in a queue outside Kathmandu International airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015. An earthquake hit Nepal centered outside Kathmandu on Saturday, the worst to hit the South Asian nation in over 80 years. It destroyed swaths of the oldest neighborhoods of Kathmandu, and was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China's region of Tibet and Pakistan.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
People stand beside a burning pyre during the cremation of a victim of Saturday's earthquake, at the Pashupatinath temple, on the banks of Bagmati river, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015. The earthquake centered outside Kathmandu, the capital, was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in over 80 years. It destroyed swaths of the oldest neighborhoods of Kathmandu, and was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China's region of Tibet and Pakistan.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
A sadhu, or Hindu holy man, waves a string of beads to a man who broke down during a funeral of Saturday’s earthquake victims on the banks of Bagmati river in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015. The earthquake centered outside Kathmandu, the capital, was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in over 80 years. It destroyed swaths of the oldest neighborhoods of Kathmandu, and was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China's region of Tibet and Pakistan. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Nepalese residents mourn the death of a relative following an earthquake, at a mass cremation at Pashupatinath in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. Aid groups and governments worldwide intensified efforts April 26 to help earthquake-hit Nepal, but blocked roads, downed power lines and overcrowded hospitals posed formidable challenges in an already poor country. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
A Nepalese resident mourns the death of a relative following an earthquake, at a mass cremation at Pashupatinath in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. Aid groups and governments worldwide intensified efforts April 26 to help earthquake-hit Nepal, but blocked roads, downed power lines and overcrowded hospitals posed formidable challenges in an already poor country. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
KATHMANDU, NEPAL - APRIL 26: A motorbike is buried under debris of destroyed buildings in Katmandu, Nepal on April 26, 2015. The death toll in Nepal climbed towards 2,500 on Sunday as rescuers unearthed the victims of a powerful earthquake. There have been 773 people killed in Nepals densely-populated capital Kathmandu, while the Himalayan nations central region, close to the epicenter of Saturdays 7.8-magnitude quake, has seen 1,055 deaths. (Photo by Bulent Doruk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Nepalese resident reacts after identifying the body of a relative in a mortuary at a city hospital in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. International aid groups and governments intensified efforts to get rescuers and supplies into earthquake-hit Nepal on April 26, 2015, but severed communications and landslides in the Himalayan nation posed formidable challenges to the relief effort. As the death toll surpassed 2,000, the US together with several European and Asian nations sent emergency crews to reinforce those scrambling to find survivors in the devastated capital Kathmandu and in rural areas cut off by blocked roads and patchy phone networks. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
KATHMANDU, NEPAL - APRIL 26: Destroyed buildings seen after a powerful earthquake in Katmandu, Nepal on April 26, 2015. The death toll in Nepal climbed towards 2,500 on Sunday as rescuers unearthed the victims of a powerful earthquake. There have been 773 people killed in Nepals densely-populated capital Kathmandu, while the Himalayan nations central region, close to the epicenter of Saturdays 7.8-magnitude quake, has seen 1,055 deaths. (Photo by Bulent Doruk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BHAKTAPUR, NEPAL - APRIL 26: Relatives of a victim of the earthquake that hit Nepal yesterday cry while walking to the cremation site on April 26, 2015 in Bhaktapur, Nepal. A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday, and was followed by multiple aftershocks that triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest that buried mountain climbers in their base camps. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors. (Photo by Omar Havana/Getty Images)
The mass cremation of earthquake victims takes place Bhaktapur on the outskirts of Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. International aid groups and governments intensified efforts to get rescuers and supplies into earthquake-hit Nepal on April 26, but severed communications and landslides in the Himalayan nation posed formidable challenges to the relief effort. AFP PHOTO/PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents stand in the street outside their homes following an earthquake, in Siliguri on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. Witnesses and media reports said the quake tremors lasted between 30 seconds and two minutes and were felt across the across the border in India, including in the capital New Delhi. AFP PHOTO / Diptendu DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian police and bystanders look at a collapsed house following an earthquake, in Siliguri on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. Witnesses and media reports said the quake tremors lasted between 30 seconds and two minutes and were felt across the across the border in India, including in the capital New Delhi. AFP PHOTO / Diptendu DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian bystanders look at a collapsed house following an earthquake, in Siliguri on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. Witnesses and media reports said the quake tremors lasted between 30 seconds and two minutes and were felt across the across the border in India, including in the capital New Delhi. AFP PHOTO / Diptendu DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese people walk past collapsed buildings at Lalitpur, on the outskirts of Kathmandu on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese people sit in an open area following an 7.9 earthquake, at Lalitpur on the outskirts of Kathmandu on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese rescue members and onlookers gather at the collapsed Dharahara Tower in Kathmandu on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese people wheel an injured man into an open area following an 7.9 earthquake, at Lalitpur on the outskirts of Kathmandu on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
BHAKTAPUR, NEPAL - APRIL 26: A relative of one of the victims of the earthquake that hit Nepal yesterday cries on April 26, 2015 in Bhaktapur, Nepal. A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday, and was followed by multiple aftershocks that triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest that buried mountain climbers in their base camps. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors. (Photo by Omar Havana/Getty Images)
Nepalese rescue members move the body of a victim from the collapsed Dharahara Tower in Kathmandu on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese people stand amidst debris of a collapsed building in Kathmandu on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
An Indian shopkeeper checks the damage inside his office following an earthquake, in Siliguri on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. Witnesses and media reports said the quake tremors lasted between 30 seconds and two minutes and were felt across the across the border in India, including in the capital New Delhi. AFP PHOTO / Diptendu DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Volunteers help with rescue work at the site of a building that collapsed after an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015. A strong magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal's capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said. (AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha)
Patients wait at the parking lot of Norvic International Hospital after an earthquake hit Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015. A powerful, magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal's capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, collapsing houses, leveling centuries-old temples and cutting open roads in the worst temblor in the Himalayan nation in over 80 years. (AP Photo/Binaj Gurubacharya)
People stand around damage caused by an earthquake at Durbar Square in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015. A strong magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal's capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said. (AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha)
A building stands damaged after an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015. A strong magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal's capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said. (AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha)
Volunteers help with rescue work at the site of a building that collapsed after an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015. A strong magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal's capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said. (AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha)
An man walks past damage caused by an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015. A strong magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal's capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said. (AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha)
A group of people gather outdoors on a street as an earthquake hits Kathmandu city, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015. A strong magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal's capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said. (AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha)
Nepalese people gather to cremate family members who fell victim to Saturday's earthquake, in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015. A powerful, magnitude 6.7 aftershock shook the Kathmandu area of Nepal on Sunday, a day after the massive earthquake devastated the region and destroyed homes and infrastructure. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
BHAKTAPUR, NEPAL - APRIL 26: A member of police forces walk down a street covered in debris after buildings collapsed on April 26, 2015 in Bhaktapur, Nepal. A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday, and was followed by multiple aftershocks that triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest that buried mountain climbers in their base camps. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors. (Photo by Omar Havana/Getty Images)
Nepalese residents walks past road damage following an earthquake in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. International aid groups and governments intensified efforts to get rescuers and supplies into earthquake-hit Nepal on April 26, 2015, but severed communications and landslides in the Himalayan nation posed formidable challenges to the relief effort. As the death toll surpassed 2,000, the US together with several European and Asian nations sent emergency crews to reinforce those scrambling to find survivors in the devastated capital Kathmandu and in rural areas cut off by blocked roads and patchy phone networks. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian residents rest and sleep in a football field in Siliguri on April 26, 2015 after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the region on April 25 in Nepal. International aid groups and governments intensified efforts to get rescuers and supplies into earthquake-hit Nepal on April 26, but severed communications and landslides in the Himalayan nation posed formidable challenges to the relief effort. AFP PHOTO / DIPTENDU DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian residents rest and sleep in a football field in Siliguri on April 26, 2015 after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the region on April 25 in Nepal. International aid groups and governments intensified efforts to get rescuers and supplies into earthquake-hit Nepal on April 26, but severed communications and landslides in the Himalayan nation posed formidable challenges to the relief effort. AFP PHOTO / DIPTENDU DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
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"I'm willing even to sell the gold I'm wearing to buy a ticket, but there is nothing available," said Rama Bahadur, an Indian woman who works in Nepal's capital.

Many of Kathmandu's one million residents have slept in the open since Saturday's quake, either because their homes were flattened or they were terrified that aftershocks would bring them crashing down.

"We are escaping," said Krishna Muktari, who runs a small grocery store in Kathmandu city, standing at a major road intersection. "How can you live here? I have got children, they can't be rushing out of the house all night."

Overwhelmed authorities were trying to cope with a shortage of drinking water, food and electricity, as well as the threat of disease, and the government appealed for international help.

"The big challenge is relief," said Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudel, the country's top bureaucrat. "We urge foreign countries to give us special relief materials and medical teams. We are really desperate for more foreign expertise to pull through this crisis."

High in the Himalayas, hundreds of climbers were staying put at Mount Everest base camp, where a huge avalanche after the earthquake killed 17 people in the single worst disaster to hit the world's highest mountain.

Rescue teams, helped by clear weather, used helicopters to airlift scores of people stranded at higher altitudes, two at a time.

Sick and wounded people were lying out in the open in Kathmandu, unable to find beds in the devastated city's hospitals. Surgeons set up an operating theater inside a tent in the grounds of Kathmandu Medical College.

Across the capital and beyond, exhausted families laid mattresses out on streets and erected tents to shelter from rain. People queued for water dispensed from trucks, while the few stores still open had next to nothing on their shelves.

26 PHOTOS
Nepal earthquake: relief aids & vigils
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Desperate Nepalis flee capital as aftershocks spread fear
A Buddhist monk from Kopan monastery offers a prayer for the people affected during Saturday's earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Monday, April 27, 2015. The earthquake was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in more than 80 years. It and was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China's region of Tibet and Pakistan.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Indians light candles on a pavement as tribute to victims of Nepal’s earthquake, in Allahabad, India, Monday, April 27, 2015. The earthquake was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in more than 80 years.(AP Photo/ Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Pakistani girls light candles and offer prayers for Nepalese victims of Saturday's earthquake, in Multan, Pakistan, Monday, April 27, 2015. The earthquake was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in more than 80 years. It was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China's region of Tibet and Pakistan. (AP Photo/Asim Tanveer)
Indian women offer prayers for victims of Nepal's earthquake, at a temple in Gorkha Nagar in Jammu, India, Monday, April 27, 2015. A strong magnitude earthquake shook Nepal’s capital and the densely populated Kathmandu valley on Saturday devastating the region and leaving tens of thousands shell-shocked and sleeping in streets. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
People gather as messages and candles mark a growing memorial after a deadly earthquake in Nepal, Monday, April 27, 2015, in the Jackson Heights section of the Queens borough of New York. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake on Saturday caused massive devastation, with more than 2,500 people killed and thousands injured in Nepal. It brought down buildings and even a monument, and set off avalanches on Mount Everest. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Hundreds of people gather in Diversity Square to light candles during a vigil for the victims of the earthquake in Nepal on April 26, 2015 in the Jackson Heights section of the Queens borough of New York City. A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday, and was followed by multiple aftershocks that triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest that buried mountain climbers in their base camps. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images).
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Hundreds of people gather in Diversity Square to light candles during a vigil for the victims of the earthquake in Nepal on April 26, 2015 in the Jackson Heights section of the Queens borough of New York City. A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday, and was followed by multiple aftershocks that triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest that buried mountain climbers in their base camps. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images).
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Mourners light candles in Diversity Square during a vigil for the victims of the earthquake in Nepal on April 26, 2015 in the Jackson Heights section of the Queens borough of New York City. A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday, and was followed by multiple aftershocks that triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest that buried mountain climbers in their base camps. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images).
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Hundreds of people gather in Diversity Square to light candles during a vigil for the victims of the earthquake in Nepal on April 26, 2015 in the Jackson Heights section of the Queens borough of New York City. A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday, and was followed by multiple aftershocks that triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest that buried mountain climbers in their base camps. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images).
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Mourners light candles in Diversity Square during a vigil for the victims of the earthquake in Nepal on April 26, 2015 in the Jackson Heights section of the Queens borough of New York City. A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday, and was followed by multiple aftershocks that triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest that buried mountain climbers in their base camps. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images).
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: A mourner lights a candle in Diversity Square during a vigil for the victims of the earthquake in Nepal on April 26, 2015 in the Jackson Heights section of the Queens borough of New York City. A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday, and was followed by multiple aftershocks that triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest that buried mountain climbers in their base camps. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images).
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Hundreds of people gather in Diversity Square to light candles during a vigil for the victims of the earthquake in Nepal on April 26, 2015 in the Jackson Heights section of the Queens borough of New York City. A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday, and was followed by multiple aftershocks that triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest that buried mountain climbers in their base camps. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images).
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Hundreds of people gather in Diversity Square to light candles during a vigil for the victims of the earthquake in Nepal on April 26, 2015 in the Jackson Heights section of the Queens borough of New York City. A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday, and was followed by multiple aftershocks that triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest that buried mountain climbers in their base camps. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images).
MUMBAI, INDIA - APRIL 26: Candle Light procession being taken out to seek help for victim of earthquake in Nepal by Nepali community from Thane on April 26, 2015 in Mumbai, India. Prayers organised for the peace of the demised victims of the earthquake that took place in Nepal on April 25, 2015. Thousands of people spending the night in the open under a chilly and thunderous sky after a powerful earthquake devastated Nepal, killing over 1,800 people. The magnitude 7.9 earthquake, which originated outside the capital Kathmandu, was the worst tremor to hit the poor South Asian nation in more than 80 years. (Photo by Praful Gangurde/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
CHANDIGARH, INDIA - APRIL 26: Candle Light procession being taken out to seek help for victim of earthquake in Nepal by Nepalese Students, Community members and other students of Punjab University on April 26, 2015 in Chandigarh, India. Prayers organised for the peace of the demised victims of the earthquake that took place in Nepal on April 25, 2015. Thousands of people spending the night in the open under a chilly and thunderous sky after a powerful earthquake devastated Nepal, killing over 1,800 people. The magnitude 7.9 earthquake, which originated outside the capital Kathmandu, was the worst tremor to hit the poor South Asian nation in more than 80 years. (Photo by Sanjeev Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
MUMBAI, INDIA - APRIL 26: Candle Light procession being taken out to seek help for victim of earthquake in Nepal by Nepali community from Thane on April 26, 2015 in Mumbai, India. Prayers organised for the peace of the demised victims of the earthquake that took place in Nepal on April 25, 2015. Thousands of people spending the night in the open under a chilly and thunderous sky after a powerful earthquake devastated Nepal, killing over 1,800 people. The magnitude 7.9 earthquake, which originated outside the capital Kathmandu, was the worst tremor to hit the poor South Asian nation in more than 80 years. (Photo by Praful Gangurde/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
CHANDIGARH, INDIA - APRIL 26: Candle Light procession being taken out to seek help for victim of earthquake in Nepal by Nepalese Students, Community members and other students of Punjab University on April 26, 2015 in Chandigarh, India. Prayers organised for the peace of the demised victims of the earthquake that took place in Nepal on April 25, 2015. Thousands of people spending the night in the open under a chilly and thunderous sky after a powerful earthquake devastated Nepal, killing over 1,800 people. The magnitude 7.9 earthquake, which originated outside the capital Kathmandu, was the worst tremor to hit the poor South Asian nation in more than 80 years. (Photo by Sanjeev Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Nepalese novice Buddhist monks who live at the Tergar monastery in the Indian town of Bodhgaya on April 26, 2015 offer prayers for the victims of an earthquake in Nepal. Powerful aftershocks rocked Nepal April 26, panicking survivors of a quake that killed more than 2,300 and triggering fresh avalanches at Everest base camp, as rescuers dug through rubble in the devastated capital Kathmandu. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
KATHMANDU, NEPAL - APRIL 26: Members of Turkish healthcare and aid organizations arrives at Nepal after a powerful earthquake in Katmandu, Nepal on April 26, 2015. The death toll in Nepal climbed towards 2,500 on Sunday as rescuers unearthed the victims of a powerful earthquake. There have been 773 people killed in Nepals densely-populated capital Kathmandu, while the Himalayan nations central region, close to the epicenter of Saturdays 7.8-magnitude quake, has seen 1,055 deaths. (Photo by Bulent Doruk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Some of the 62 members of the Dutch Urban Search and Rescue team get ready to leave with their tracker dogs for Nepal to help search for victims after the earthquake at Eindhoven Airport, on April 26, 2015. Powerful aftershocks rocked Nepal on April 26, panicking survivors of a quake that killed more than 2,300 and triggering fresh avalanches at Everest base camp, as rescuers dug through rubble in the devastated capital Kathmandu AFP PHOTO / ANP / EVERT-JAN DANIELS **NETHERLANDS OUT** (Photo credit should read Evert-Jan Daniels/AFP/Getty Images)
Some of the 62 members of the Urban Search and Rescue team get ready to leave with their tracker dogs for Nepal to help search for victims after the earthquake at Eindhoven Airport, on April 26, 2015. Powerful aftershocks rocked Nepal on April 26, panicking survivors of a quake that killed more than 2,300 and triggering fresh avalanches at Everest base camp, as rescuers dug through rubble in the devastated capital Kathmandu AFP PHOTO / ANP / EVERT-JAN DANIELS **NETHERLANDS OUT** (Photo credit should read Evert-Jan Daniels/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of a German rescue organization board a plane at the airport in Frankfurt, central Germany, Sunday, April 26, 2015, for their flight to earthquake-torn Nepal. International Search and Rescue Germany says a team of 52 relief workers including doctors, experts trained in searching for people buried under rubble and several dog squads will fly to Nepal. (Christoph Schmidt/dpa via AP)
Members of a rescue team from Japan transit at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport en route to Kathmandu, Nepal, to assist with the earthquake relief effort Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Saturday's magnitude 7.8 earthquake spread horror from Kathmandu to small villages and to the slopes of Mount Everest, triggering an avalanche that buried part of the base camp packed with foreign climbers preparing to make their summit attempts. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)
Workers of the German Red Cross (DRK) prepare a load of humanitarian aid for victims of the earthquake in Nepal, in front of an aircraft at Schoenefeld airport outside Berlin Monday, April 27, 2015. The flight will carry around 60 tonnes of supplies for the victims. (Hannibal Hanschke/Pool Photo via AP)
Members of India’s Second Battalion National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) stand in a queue as they leave for Kathmandu to assist in the search and rescue operation, at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose international airport in Kolkata, India, Monday, April 27, 2015. A strong magnitude earthquake hit the capital, Kathmandu, on Saturday devastating the region and leaving tens of thousands shell-shocked and sleeping in streets. The earthquake was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in more than 80 years. It and was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China's region of Tibet and Pakistan. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
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The United Nations Childrens Fund said nearly one million children in Nepal were severely affected by the quake, and warned of waterborne and infectious diseases.

In the ancient temple town of Bhaktapur, east of Kathmandu, many residents were living in tents in a school compound after centuries old buildings collapsed or developed huge cracks.

"We have become refugees," said Sarga Dhaoubadel, a management student whose ancestors had built her Bhaktapur family home over 400 years ago.

They were subsisting on instant noodles and fruit, she said.

"No one from the government has come to offer us even a glass of water," she said. "Nobody has come to even check our health. We are totally on our own here. All we can hope is that the aftershocks stop and we can try and get back home."

A total of 3,726 people were confirmed killed in the 7.9 magnitude quake, the government said on Monday, the worst in Nepal since 1934 when 8,500 died. More than 6,500 were injured.

Another 66 were killed across the border in India and at least another 20 in Tibet, China's state news agency said.

The toll is likely to rise as rescuers struggle to reach remote regions in the country of 28 million people and as bodies buried under rubble are recovered.

Several countries rushed to send aid and personnel.

India sent helicopters, medical supplies and members of its National Disaster Response Force. China sent a 60-strong emergency team. Pakistan's army said it was sending four C-130 aircraft with a 30-bed hospital, search and rescue teams and relief supplies.

A Pentagon spokesman said a U.S. military aircraft with 70 personnel left the United States on Sunday and was due in Kathmandu on Monday. Australia, Britain and New Zealand said they were sending specialist urban search-and-rescue teams to Kathmandu at Nepal's request.

Britain, which believes several hundred of its nationals are in Nepal, was also delivering supplies and medics.

However, there has been little sign of international assistance on the ground so far, with some aid flights prevented from landing by aftershocks that closed Kathmandu's airport several times on Sunday.

On Monday, an Indian air force relief plane returned to New Delhi because of congestion at the airport, Indian television reported.

The disaster has underlined the woeful state of Nepal's medical facilities.

Nepal has only 2.1 physicians and 50 hospital beds for every 10,000 people, according to a 2011 World Health Organization report.

Doctors at one Kathmandu hospital said they needed over 1,000 more beds to treat the patients that were being brought in ambulances and taxis.

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