|Nepalese rescue teams remove a body from the rubble of the historic 19th century Darahara Tower in Kathmandu which collapsed in the quake|
The Nepalese government has declared a state of emergency in affected areas and appealed for international assistance after the severe quake destroyed homes, businesses and temples in Kathmandu and the densely-populated surrounding areas at noon local time.
Officials confirmed that at least 1,130 people have died as rescue teams continue to search for survivors who are feared to be trapped under rubble. The death toll is expected to rise.
Effects of the quake were felt hundreds of miles away in neighbouring countries with 36 killed in India, 12 in Tibet and 4 in Bangladesh. Two Chinese citizens died at the Nepal-China border.
Australian Ballantyne Forder, 20, who was working in a number of orphanages around the country, is also feared to be among those killed.
A spokeswoman for Intrepid Travel - which arranges treks in Nepal and around the Everest region - confirmed they had groups with British travellers in the area and said they are still attempting to contact those tours.
The earthquake has also triggered a massive avalanche on Mount Everest killing 18 and injuring at least 30. Several groups of climbers were also said to be trapped at base camp which was severely damaged.
Panicked residents had rushed into the streets as the tremor erupted with the impact felt hundreds of miles away in big swathes of northern India and even in Bangladesh.
Video footage showed people digging through the rubble of the bricks from the collapsed tower, looking for survivors.
Nepal’s capital Kathmandu – with a population of over one million – was one of the worst-hit areas in Nepal, with the quake’s epicentre just 50 miles north of the city. As the tremors intensified, people were seen in scenes of mayhem running from their homes and places of work in panic.
Dozens of people were gathered in the car park of Kathmandu's Norvic International Hospital, where thin mattresses had been spread on the ground for patients rushed outside, some patients wearing hospital pyjamas, while doctors and nurses were treating people.
The United States Geological Survey said the quake struck 81 kilometres (50 miles) northwest of Kathmandu at 06.11 GMT, with walls crumbling and families racing outside of their homes. The 7.8 magnitude tremor was the worst to hit the poor South Asian nation in over 80 years.
Television footage showed a huge swathe of houses had collapsed in while roads had been split in two by the force of the impact.
India was first to respond to Nepal's appeal for help by sending in military aircraft with medical equipment and relief teams.
Prime Minister David Cameron has now pledged that the UK will do all it can to help in the aftermath on the Nepal earthquake.
On Twitter he said: 'Shocking news about the earthquake in Nepal - the UK will do all we can to help those caught up in it.'
Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, added his condolences and said the British Embassy was providing help to any UK nationals caught up in the disaster.
'My thoughts are with the people of Nepal and everyone affected by the terrible loss of life and widespread damage caused by the earthquake,' he said.
'We are in close contact with the Nepalese government. The British Embassy in Nepal is offering our assistance to the authorities and is providing consular assistance to British Nationals.'
Vim Tamang, a resident of Manglung village near the epicentre, said: 'Our village has been almost wiped out. Most of the houses are either buried by landslide or damaged by shaking.'All the villagers have gathered in the open area. We don't know what to do. We are feeling helpless.'
A terrified Kathmandu resident said: 'Everything started shaking. Everything fell down. The walls around the main road have collapsed. The national stadiums gates have collapsed,' Kathmandu resident Anupa Shrestha said.
Indian tourist Devyani Pant was in a Kathmandu coffee shop with friends when 'suddenly the tables started trembling and paintings on the wall fell on the ground.
'I screamed and rushed outside,' she told Reuters by telephone from the capital, where at least 300 people died.
'We are now collecting bodies and rushing the injured to the ambulance. We are being forced to pile several bodies one above the other to fit them in.'
Pushpa Das, a labourer, ran from the house when the first quake struck but could not escape a collapsing wall that injured his arm.
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