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Charities and countries around the world pledged to provide aid after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated Nepal, killing almost 1,900 people in four countries, and possibly more.
"We know the damage is extensive and that access into rural areas will be very, very difficult for everybody," said Ben Pickering, Save the Children's humanitarian adviser in Britain. "Children will be affected in many ways. Physical injuries. Separated from families."
The earthquake hit poverty-stricken Nepal just before noon local time Saturday (2:15 a.m. ET), and is believed to have killed more than 1,800 people in the Himalayan country, and the death toll could rise. The quake also killed at least 51 in India, 17 in Tibet and two in Bangladesh. Two Chinese citizens died at the Nepal-China border. Seventeen bodies were found on Mount Everest Sunday after the quake triggered an avalanche.
The United States government is sending disaster assistance and urban search and rescue teams to Nepal and has pledged an initial $1 million in humanitarian assistance.
China is sending a 62-member search and rescue team, plus six dogs, that should arrive Sunday, state-run news agency Xinhua reported. British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged that the United Kingdom “will do all we can to help." The European Union said it is prepared to help in the international assistance effort.
Pakistan said it is sending four C-130 aircraft carrying doctors, hospital equipment, food, tents and search and rescue teams equipped with ground-penetrating radar. Sri Lanka was also sending doctors, paramedics and medicine.
"To the people in Nepal and the region affected by this tragedy we send our heartfelt sympathies,” Secretary of State John F. Kerry said in a statement. "The United States stands with you during this difficult time."
Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières, said it is sending four medical teams and sending 3,000 kits containing medical supplies.
The charity AmeriCares said it was also sending a team from its office in India and is preparing emergency food and medical supplies to be shipped to the region. “We are prepared to help any way that we can," AmeriCares President and CEO Michael J. Nyenhuis said.
Google, which lost executive Dan Fredinburg in an avalanche on Mount Everest triggered by the earthquake, said it is pledging $1 million to the quake response.
Elite firefighting and search and rescue teams in California and Virginia prepared to be deployed to the disaster area, if called. "Everybody's grabbing their gear," Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Brian Jordan told NBC Los Angeles. Virginia’s Task Force 1 was also notified that it could be called, Capt. Randy Bittinger of Fairfax County Fire & Rescue said.
- Nepal Earthquake: Dan Fredinburg, Google Engineer, Killed in Everest Avalanche
- Nepal Earthquake Triggers Deadly Mount Everest Avalanche
- More Than 1,400 Dead After 7.8-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Nepal
— Phil Helsel
The Associated Press contributed to this report.