Kathmandu, Nepal (CNN)A 7.8 magnitude earthquake centered less than 50 miles from Kathmandu rocked Nepal with devastating force Saturday, toppling homes, temples and historic buildings and leaving at least 1,457 people dead, authorities said.
Afterward, whole streets and squares in the nation’s capital and largest city were covered in rubble. Locals and tourists ferreted through mounds of debris in search of survivors. The injured wound up being treated outside hospitals in chaotic scenes. Residents, terrorized by a seemingly endless series of aftershocks, huddled outdoors for safety.
The death toll was reported by Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs. But given that the rescue effort is still in its early stages and that people in outlying areas may well have been affected, as well, it seems probable the number will rise.
An estimated 4.6 million people in the region were exposed to tremors from the Nepal earthquake, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said via Twitter. In Nepal, 30 out of 75 districts were affected by the quake.
In neighboring Tibet, roads buckled, buildings collapsed and at least 12 people were killed, China’s state media reported, citing local authorities.
Separately, at least four Chinese citizens in Nepal — two workers with a Chinese company, a tourist and a mountaineer — have been killed, state media reported, citing the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu.
Officials in India confirmed at least 34 deaths in three states from Nepal quake.
The quake struck at 11:56 a.m. local time (2:11 a.m. ET), occurred at a depth of 9.3 miles, which is considered shallow and more damaging than a deeper quake. It was reported by people in the area as having lasted a long time. On person said he felt as if he were on a ship in rough seas.