Nearly one million children in Nepal are in urgent need of aid after a catastrophic earthquake struck, leading children's charity UNICEF warned Sunday.
At least 940,000 children are living in areas badly affected by the 7.9 magnitude tremor, which has killed over 3,200 so far. According to the charity, supplies of food and water are dwindling, electricity is down, and hundreds of thousands of people are sleeping out in open areas out of fear of strong aftershocks, which have further impeded rescue efforts.
UNICEF says heavy rain is also leaving children vulnerable to waterborne diseases and being separated from their families. The organization is preparing to send two cargo flights loaded with 120 tons of humanitarian supplies, such as hospital provisions and tents and blankets to Kathmandu.
The United Nations also has sent aid, with preventing the spread of disease as a priority. "There are 14 international medical teams on the way and either 14 or 15 international search-and-rescue teams on the way," said U.N. spokeswoman Orla Fagan. "They need to get in as soon as possible. They will use military aircraft to get them into Nepal."
Authorities have expressed concern that the death toll will continue to rise as hundreds of people remain missing and as rescuers also continue to dig up bodies from underneath of what's left of buildings leveled by the quake.
Authorities say most of the deaths occurred in the capital Kathmandu -- at least 2000 -- and the surrounding valley, and that more than 4700 people had been injured.
Meanwhile, officials and brigadiers continue working to rescue victims trapped under the rubble. Many mountain roads are cracked or blocked by landslides and hospitals in Kathmandu are struggling to cope with the number of injured.