A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday, killing hundreds of people and triggering a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest.

The earthquake, the worst to hit the country in 80 years, caused massive destruction in the Himalayan nation, including destroying a 19th-century tower in the capital Kathmandu.

A Nepali government official told Reuters that 688 people were killed, including 188 in the Kathmandu.

The tremors rocked neighboring countries, killing 20 people in India, six in Tibet and two in Bangladesh, as well as two Chinese people on the Nepal-China border, according to the Associated Press.

The earthquake’s epicenter was 50 miles east of Nepal’s second largest city, Pokhara. It caused an avalanche on Mount Everest that left eight people dead, Reuters reported. A climber at Everest base camp, Alex Gavan, wrote on Twitter:
“Running for life from my tent. Unhurt. Many many people up the mountain.”

Nepali authorities struggled to assess the full scale of the damage, but many feared the worst.

“Almost the entire country has been hit,” the deputy chief of mission at Nepal’s Embassy in New Delhi Krishna Prasad Dhakal said. Officials warned the death toll is likely to rise.

“We are totally cut off from most parts of our country,” Nepal Disaster Management Authority official Ram Narayan Pandey told Reuters… see more

source: huffingtonpost