Rescuers struggle to reach many in Nepal quake, fear worst

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World Responds to Nepal Crisis


KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) -- The death toll from Nepal's earthquake soared past 3,300 Monday, and how much higher it would rise depended largely on the condition of vulnerable mountain villages that rescue workers were still struggling to reach two days after the disaster.

Reports received so far by aid groups suggest that many communities perched on mountainsides are devastated or struggling to cope.

Landslides hindered rescue teams that tried to use mountain trails to reach those in need, said Prakash Subedi, chief district official in the Gorkha region, where the quake was centered. Matt Darvas, a member of the aid group World Vision, said it is likely that many communities can be reached only by helicopter.

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Nepal earthquake: relief aids & vigils
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Rescuers struggle to reach many in Nepal quake, fear worst
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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"Villages like this are routinely affected by landslides, and it's not uncommon for entire villages of 200, 300, up to 1,000 people to be completely buried by rock falls," Darvas said.

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. At least 18 people died there and 61 were injured.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Komal Singh Bam said Monday that Nepal's death toll had risen to 3,218 people. That does not include the avalanche dead, which are counted by the mountaineering association. Another 61 people were killed in neighboring India, and China reported 20 people dead in Tibet.

Kathmandu district chief administrator Ek Narayan Aryal said tents and water were being handed out Monday at 10 locations in Kathmandu, but that aftershocks were leaving everyone jittery. The largest, on Sunday, was magnitude 6.7.

"There have been nearly 100 earthquakes and aftershocks, which is making rescue work difficult. Even the rescuers are scared and running because of them," he said.

In Kathmandu, tens of thousands of people spent the night sleeping in parks or on a golf course. Others camped in open squares lined by cracked buildings and piles of rubble.

"We don't feel safe at all. There have been so many aftershocks. It doesn't stop," said Rajendra Dhungana, 34, who spent Sunday with his niece's family for her cremation at the Pashuputi Nath Temple.

Acrid, white smoke rose above the Hindu temple, Nepal's most revered. "I've watched hundreds of bodies burn," Dhungana said.

The capital city is largely a collection of small, poorly constructed brick apartment buildings. The earthquake killed well over 1,000 people in Kathmandu and destroyed swaths of the oldest neighborhoods, but many were surprised by how few modern structures collapsed in the quake.

Aid workers also warned that the situation could be far worse near the epicenter. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near Lamjung, a district about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Kathmandu. While not far away, poor roads and steep mountains make Lamjung difficult to reach. Even before the quake, it could take six hours to drive from Kathmandu to parts of the area. Now, many of the few roads are believed to be cut off by small landslides.

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. Nepal's worst recorded earthquake in 1934 measured 8.0 and all but destroyed the cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan.

Rescuers aided by international teams spent Sunday digging through rubble of buildings - concrete slabs, bricks, iron beams, wood - to look for survivors. Because the air was filled with chalky concrete dust, many people wore breathing masks or held shawls over their faces.

Hundreds of people in Kathmandu's western Kalanki neighborhood nervously watched the slow progress of a single backhoe digging into the rubble of the collapsed Lumbini Guest House, once a three-story budget hotel.

Most areas were without power and water. The United Nations said hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley were overcrowded and running out of emergency supplies and space to store corpses.

Most shops in Kathmandu were closed after the government declared a weeklong period of recovery. Only fruit vendors and pharmacies seemed to be doing business.

"More people are coming now," fruit seller Shyam Jaiswal said. "They cannot cook so they need to buy something they can eat raw."

Jaiswal said stocks were running out, and more shipments were not expected for at least a week, but added, "We are not raising prices. That would be illegal, immoral profit."

The quake has put a huge strain on the resources of this impoverished 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, principally trekking and Himalayan mountain climbing.

The first nations to respond were Nepal's neighbors - India, China and Pakistan, all of which have been jockeying for influence over the landlocked nation. Nepal remains closest to India, with which it shares deep political, cultural and religious ties.

Other countries sending support Sunday included the United States, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, Germany, France, Poland, Italy, Israel and Singapore.

An American military plane left Delaware's Dover Air Force Base for Nepal, carrying 70 people, including a disaster-assistance response team and an urban search-and-rescue team, and 45 tons of cargo, the Pentagon said.

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