Photo Credit: EPA
UPDATE Monday, 4/27/2015: At least 4,000 people are now known to have died in a massive earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday, according to local and international reports.
More than 6,500 people have been injured, according to the National Emergency Operation Centre.
Dozens of people are also reported to have been killed in neighboring China and India. More than 200 climbers have been rescued around Mount Everest, which was struck by deadly avalanches due to the 7.8-magnitude quake
Nepal was rocked by a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake - the country’s worst in 80 years - on Saturday, with aftershocks following on Sunday. The quake flattened homes, buildings and temples, causing widespread damage across the region and killing more than 2,200 people.
The country’s deputy prime minister, Bamdev Gautam, has declared a state of emergency and asked for humanitarian assistance across the region.
Here is what you need to know about the tragedy and how you can help.
The quake struck 50 miles northwest of Kathmandu before noon local time in what is one of the most seismically hazardous regions on earth, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was felt as far away as Lahore, Pakistan; Lhasa, Tibet; and Dhaka, Bangladesh.
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The quake registered at a strength of 7.8. Strong tremors were felt as far as New Delhi and other northern cities in India.
Although the area sits on a major plate boundary with history of large earthquakes, Nepal itself has rarely had earthquakes this size. Over the past century, there have been four magnitude-6.0 or larger quakes occurring within 150 miles of Saturday’s quake.
For reference, an earthquakes’ power increases by 10 times with each increase on the magnitude scale. Saturday’s quake was the same magnitude as the 1906 San Francisco quake, and 22 times more powerful than the 7.0 quake that hit Haiti in 2010.
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The Kathmandu Valley is densely populated with nearly 2.5 million people, and much of the buildings and infrastructure are of poor quality. Many buildings collapsed at the center of the capital, the ancient Old Kathmandu, including famed temples and towers.
Among the damage was a UNESCO-recognized historical monument, now reduced to rubble. Also Dharahara Tower, one of Kathmandu’s landmarks built by Nepal's royal rulers in the 1800s, was destroyed.
Photo Credit: Reuters
Who Is Affected
Google has launched a person finder tool to help users find loved ones affected by the terrible quake, serving as a searchable online database.
Communication has been harshly affected and this tool helps to collate information from emergency responders, allowing individuals to post details about relatives missing or found.
Within hours of the quake, 200 names had been uploaded. The tool has become a regular feature of recent disasters, when reliable information is needed rapidly.
Facebook has also launched a tool called Safety Check for people affected by the earthquake in Nepal.
Mark Zuckerberg shared the tool on Saturday, saying "It's a simple way to let family and friends know you're okay. If you're in one of the areas affected by the earthquake, you'll get a notification asking if you're safe, and whether you want to check on any of your friends. When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe. It's moments like this that being able to connect really matters. My thoughts are with everyone who's been caught up in this tragedy."
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More than 2,200 deaths are confirmed and that number is expected to rise. At least 17 were killed and 61 injured on Mount Everest, where the quake launched an avalanche. Dozens if not hundreds remain trapped under mounds of rubble.
Outside Nepal, at least 61 were killed in India, 12 in China, four in Bangladesh, and six in Tibet.
Photo Credit: MSNBC
It will be some time before the full extent of damage is known along with the final death toll. Up to 29 districts have been designated as crisis zones, and hospitals are overwhelmed.
This quake will likely put a huge strain on resources for a historic but poor country best known for Everest and highly dependent on tourism.
More avalanches are likely for Everest and it's unclear how any stranded on the mountain will be evacuated.
Photo Credit: Getty
How You Can Help
Numerous countries are pledging immediate aid and supplies. Humanitarian groups such as the Red Cross, Save the Children, CARE, and Oxfam are working to provide clean water, shelter, and emergency food supplies.
CNN breaks down a number of ways you can help here.
Editor's Note: Our thoughts and hearts are with those of Nepal and surrounding areas affected by this tragedy.