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Death toll surges in Nepal earthquake

The death toll in Nepal's worst earthquake in decades has risen to more than three thousand. The UN has made an urgent appeal for international aid as it warned of a humanitarian disaster in the Himalayan country.

The death toll in the Nepal earthquake rose on Monday, with Western news agencies putting the number at more than three thousand.

Agence France Presse (AFP) and Reuters quoted an official, who confirmed the surge in the number of people who perished in Saturday's 7.9 magnitude quake.

"The death toll has reached 3,218 and over 6,500 are injured," said Rameshwor Dangal, the head of the home ministry's national disaster management division.

The toll for Nepal had previously stood at

more than 2,500

.

Around 90 people were also reported to have died in neighbouring countries, including India and China.

Thousands had been left homeless with few or no supplies, sparking calls from international aid agencies for the delivery of urgent supplies to the stricken Himalayan nation.

Many of the injured were in dire need of medical attention.

In the capital, Kathmandu, the sick and wounded lay out in the open as they were unable to finds beds in the city's hospitals.

Surgeons set up an operating theatre inside a tent in the grounds of Kathmandu Medical College, according to the Reuters news agency.

As death toll rises, UN warns of humanitarian disaster

The UN estimated nearly a million children needed urgent humanitarian assistance in the wake of the tremor.

The UN's children agency, UNICEF described the scope of the disaster on social media:

The search and rescue operation was further hindered by

multiple aftershocks

on Sunday.

"We are overwhelmed with rescue and assistance requests from all across the country," said Deepak Panda, a member of Nepal's disaster management department.

The death toll is expected to rise further as rescuers struggle to reach remote regions in the impoverished mountainous country of 28 million people.

Several countries, including India, China, Britain, the US and Germany announced urgent aid for the relief operation.

India managed to fly in medical supplies and members of its National Disaster Response Force.

China had also sent a 60-strong emergency team.

Many aid flights were prevented from landing by multiple aftershocks that closed Kathmandu's main airport several times on Sunday.

The Oxfam International charity posted this image of people left homeless by the devastating quake:

Fears for missing climbers

Nepal Himalaya Rettungsaktion nach Lawinenunglück am Mount Everest

The Mount Everest base camp in the aftermath of a major avalanche triggered by the earthquake

Hundreds of foreign and Nepalese climbers were reported still trapped in the Himalayas after a huge avalanche tore through the Mount Everest base camp killing 17 people.

"It was a monstrous sound, like the demons had descended on the mountain," Khile Sherpa, a Nepalese guide, told Reuters, describing the moment the avalanche hit.

Further tremors on Sunday dislodged more snow and boulders. Another aftershock was reported on Monday.

lw/gsw (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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