At least one Australian is reportedly among the more than 3300 dead after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal over the weekend.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said more than 830 Australians were safe following the quake, which dislodged a mammoth wall of snow and ice on Mount Everest killing at least eighteen people, and was this morning trying to confirm reports an Australian at base camp had perished.
The Australian was one of four members of a tour group that was caught in the avalanche.
Dreamers’ Destination Treks and Expeditions tour leader Temba Tsheri Sherpa told reporters: “I have lost four team members in the avalanche – two Nepalese, one Chinese and Australian.”
An expedition leader for the Dreamers’ Destination Treks and Expeditions tour company told reporters he had lost four members of his group, including an Australian.
“I have lost four team members in the avalanche – two Nepalese, one Chinese and Australian,” said Temba Tsheri Sherpa. “But the situation is so bad, this is only the beginning of bad news.”
Bishop said she was in contact with the Australian embassy in Kathmandu and is “urgently seeking to confirm those reports”.
Here’s a video of hikers fleeing Mount Everest base camp just as the avalanche struck.
The SMH reports almost 350 Australians in the region are still unaccounted for. So far, the Australian embassy in Nepal has only been able to contact 200 of the 549 registered Australian travellers listed in the area.
The earthquake struck just after 4pm (EST) on Saturday. There were reports of tremors felt across the region; in Bangladesh, India and as far west as Pakistan.
Global development and poverty relief organisation Oxfam Australia said their team in Kathmandu was safe, and ready to respond.
“We’re fearing the worst; this was a massive earthquake,” Oxfam Australia chief executive Dr Helen Szoke said.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has set up a missing relatives’ website, to help families locate their loved ones.
You can check the list of missing persons and person who reported they are alive here.
The ABC reports Nepalese hospitals are struggling to cope with the number of dead and injured following the country’s worst earthquake in 81 years. There’s a severe lack of resources and equipment to help move large rubble and search for survivors beneath heavily impacted sites.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australia has committed $5 million in financial aid and will consider further assistance, including on-the-ground support, over the next few days.
Here’s a map of the region where the earthquake struck.
Here are some photos posted to social media of the quake’s aftermath which has devastated the region.