SA girls safe after #NepalQuake
18 schoolgirls were on an expedition when the 7.8 magnitude quake struck.
JOHANNESBURG - A South African woman whose daughter and 17 of her schoolmates were caught up in Nepal's devastating earthquake at the weekend said she's confident they will return home safely.
Lee-Ann Steven's daughter and the other girls were on an expedition in the south Asian country when the 7.8 magnitude quake struck on Saturday.
So far more 3,200 people have been confirmed dead.
Countries around the world are now sending teams to the country to help with relief efforts.
Stevens said the girls are safe.
"I'm in contact with the parents and we are saying we have every faith in World Cannon in getting our girls home safely. World Cannon has a 24 hour call center and we were told they were going to have a meeting this morning at 8.30 to come up with an action plan to get the girls out."
Another South African woman has told Eyewitness News about the ensuing panic and chaos after her husband and six others were stranded in Nepal.
Candice Goodman said her husband, Errol and the other hikers are still stranded and unable to get home after planes were grounded due to the powerful aftershocks.
Goodman says her husband spent Saturday night outside as aftershocks continued through Nepal and planes were grounded.
"He heard of extra flights today but nobody has any answers for them. So that's why I've been in communication with him all night to try and get them a flight out."
The only contact she has had with her husband, since the quake hit has been a few SMSes and an email making it impossible to find a way home for him.
"He's very in control; he says that he's in control. He's made the right decisions I mustn't worry, he's a very competent man."
Candice has told EWN that information is thin because authorities are not geared up for the repatriation efforts of thousands stranded.
Meanwhile, as the death toll in Nepal's earthquake continues to rise more countries have pledged their help.
Here at home a Gift of the Givers team of specialists is on standby to travel to Nepal to help with relief efforts.
The United States has also pledged an initial one million dollars in immediate humanitarian assistance. Map of Nepal locating the first quake Saturday, the strongest afterhocks. Graphic: AFP.
Map of Nepal locating the first quake Saturday, the strongest afterhocks. Graphic: AFP.
TIMELINE OF NEPAL'S EARTHQUAKES
This quake has been Nepal's biggest and worst earthquake in 81 years.
• In 1934, an 8.1 magnitude quake hit the mountainous country claiming the lives of more than 10,000 people.The epicentre for this event was located in eastern Nepal about 10km south of Mount Everest.
• In 1980 a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit the region killing 65 people and destroying 40,000 homes.
• Eight years later, in 1988, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck. A total of 722 were killed and 12,000 were left injured.
• In 2011 a 6.9 magnitude earthquake killed six people.
• 2015: 7.9 magnitude quake hit near the capital of Kathmandu killing thousands and causing massive damage.
Meanwhile, scientists are warning that there will be more weeks and even months of strong aftershocks following quake.
Experts warn that there are greater risks ahead of landslides and avalanches.
Geophysist Randy Balwin said, "The aftershock sequence lasts for quite a while. We can look at these quakes and see the kind of aftershocks that they produced and that's what we use as a go by."
NEPAL: A HOTSPOT FOR EARTHQUAKES
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS) the mountainous area is a hotspot for earthquakes because of massive forces as a result of the Indian Plate pushing up against the Eurasian Plate.
The shifting tectonic plates make the mountainous region susceptible to massive earthquakes and tremors.
The net effect of plate-tectonics forces acting on this geologically complicated region is to squeeze parts of Asia eastward toward the Pacific Ocean.
Some of the world's most destructive earthquakes in history are related to continuing tectonic processes that began some 50 million years ago when the Indian and Eurasian continents first met.
WATCH: Historic Nepal tower collapses.