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Death toll rises after 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Nepal

Death toll rises after 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Nepal (Image 1) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

(NBC)-The death toll from a powerful 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal kept rising on Saturday, with police telling the Associated Press that at least 1,130 people were confirmed dead.The quake destroyed homes and ancient temples, and triggered at least one avalanche on Mount Everest. The number of deaths was not immediately confirmed by NBC News; earlier, Minendra Rija, the country's minister of information and communications, said nearly 600 people had died, but cautioned, "That number may rise."

The quake hit just before noon local time (2:15 a.m. ET), with an epicenter about 50 miles from the capital of Kathmandu and 50 miles east of Nepal's second-largest city, Pokhara. It was felt as far as neighboring countries, and killed at least 34 people in India, 12 in Tibet and two in Bangladesh, the Associated Press reported.

The shallow quake is the worst to hit the Himalayan nation — which is landlocked between India and China — in nearly a century. It struck during the spring climbing season, when hundreds of thousands of tourists come for mountain-trekking and to tour the ancient Hindu temples in Kathmandu.

WSLS 10 reached out to the President of the Nepal Student Association at Virginia Tech.

He released the following statement: W

hat happened today is a tragedy, not only in the loss of our life but also in the loss of our heritage, like the Dharahara tower. I think I speak for everyone at NSA, and the community at large, that our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by this earthquake. 

Because of this devastation, communication has been spotty at best, making it hard for people to get in touch with their loved ones. With the continuing aftershocks, the hardship is far from over, so we must aid our fellow brothers in this time of need. 

As a community, we have started a gofund donation account that we plan on donating to Red Cross Nepal. I have attached the link to the donation account in this email for those willing to donate. 

http://igg.me/at/131fv6D1hLU