The tiny mountain nation of Nepal was struck by a deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake early Saturday morning. The powerful quake was centered less than 50 miles from Kathmandu. Authorities say at least 700 are presumed dead with the count likely to rise as rescuers comb through the rubble.
Historic buildings in city lay in rubble on the ground with chaotic scenes of the injured being treated outside hospitals. The city was also hit with a seemingly endless series of aftershocks, forcing terrorized residents to huddled outdoors.
The death toll was reported by Laxmi Dhakal, a spokesperson for Nepal's Ministry of Home Affairs. Given that rescue effort are still in the early stages and that people from outlying areas have likely been affected as well it seems certain that the number will rise.
Kathmandu, which rests in a valley surrounded by the Himalayas, has a population of 1 million people.
People who experienced the quake spoke by telephone with CNN, describing scenes of chaotic scenes full of fear and suffering.
Avalanches hit Mount Everest, one of Nepal's most famous tourist attractions, sending mountaineers running for cover.
"Everest base camp huge earthquake then huge avalanche from pumori," said mountaineer Alex Gavan said. "Running for life from my tent. Unhurt. Many many people up the mountain."