Nepal quake: Death toll rises to 449

Following a 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Nepal reports now say the death toll has risen to 449.

Nepalese rescue members and onlookers gather at the collapsed Darahara Tower in Kathmandu on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. Picture: AFP.

NEW DELHI - An earthquake measuring 7.9 magnitude, and only 2km deep, struck east of Pokhara in Nepal on Saturday killing 449 people, causing buildings in the capital Kathmandu to collapse and injuring many.

Earlier reports suggested that over 150 people died but the police then revised the death toll to 449.

At the main hospital in Kathmandu, people with broken limbs and arms were being rushed in for treatment. It was unclear how many people have been injured.

There are now fears that an avalanche triggered on Mount Everest could endanger the lives of climbers.

Mountain climbers have taken to social media reporting damages to their base camp.

Authorities are combing through rubble of several collapsed buildings to free any survivors.

A girl died after a statue fell on her in a park in Kathmandu, a witness said, while another died in India when her house collapsed.

A Reuters reporter in Kathmandu said he had seen some buildings collapse and walls of several houses reduced to rubble. "Everyone is out in the streets, people are rushing to the hospital," the reporter said.

Photographs posted online showed buildings left in rubble, large cracks along roads and worried residents sitting in the street holding babies.

Tremors were felt as far away as New Delhi and other northern cities in India, with reports of tremors lasting almost one minute.

"Massive tremors have been felt here in Delhi and several other parts of India," said a newsreader on NDTV in Delhi.

"You can see pictures of our Delhi studios, where the windows rattled and everything shook for a very long time, for a minute perhaps or longer," she said as footage showed studio ceiling camera lights shaking.

A police officer in the control room of neighbouring Indian state of Bihar said the phone lines were jammed with callers from across the heavily populated state. "We don't know about the casualties, we are flooded with calls."

The US Geological Survey said the quake, initially measured at 7.7 but upgraded to 7.9 magnitude, struck 80km east of Pokhara.

"We are in the process of finding more information and are working to reach out to those affected, both at home & in Nepal," tweeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Nepal's lack of disaster preparedness, the decrepit buildings packed cheek by jowl along the tiny lanes and the large families who live in these homes make the prospect of a major earthquake a serious concern.