Nepal earthquake
Emergency workers and bystanders clear debris while searching for survivors under a collapsed temple in Basantapur Durbar Square following an earthquake (Omar Havana/Getty Images)

The death toll in the most powerful earthquake in 80 years in Nepal has risen to 2,152 and more people are feared buried under the debris of collapsed buildings. The Mount Everest avalanche alone claimed 300 lives.

As emergency workers mounted large-scale operations, and scores of people spent the night in the open, Nepal made a desperate appeal for aid to the world.

"We have launched a massive rescue and rehabilitation action plan and lots needs to be done. Our country is in a moment of crisis and we will require tremendous support and aid," Nepal's Information and Broadcasting Minister Minendra Rijal told an Indian television channel.

The Nepalese government also plans to convert schools and public places into makeshift shelters.

"The reports of the devastation are still coming in and the numbers of people killed, injured and affected by this earthquake continue to rise. It is clear that very many lives have been lost. There has also been significant damage to Nepal's irreplaceable cultural heritage," said UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

Operation Maitri

India's administration, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was quick to announce a series of relief measures for neighbouring Nepal. New Delhi named the aid mission Operation Maitri.

"Ten flights are planned for Kathmandu today. These would be airlifting army forward hospitals, engineering task forces, water, food, National Disaster Response Force teams, medical personnel and equipment, blankets and tents," said Sitanshu Kar, India's defence ministry spokesperson.

The US, China and EU have pledged aid to the disaster-stricken nation. Several non-government agencies in India and abroad have also announced relief measures.

In India, more than 40 people were killed in quake-related incidents. Delhi has airlifted more than 500 Indians from Nepal and hundreds more are likely to be flown in the coming hours.