Roads leading out of Kathmandu were jammed with people, some with babies in their arms, trying to climb onto buses or hitch a ride aboard cars and trucks to the plains.

In pics: Major earthquake rattles Nepal!!!
               
Huge queues had formed at the city's Tribhuvan International Airport, with tourists and residents desperate to get a flight out.
               
"I'm willing even to sell the gold I'm wearing to buy a ticket, but there is nothing available," said Rama Bahadur, an Indian woman who works in Nepal's capital.

Many of Kathmandu's one million residents have slept in the open since Saturday's quake, either because their homes were flattened or they were terrified that aftershocks would bring them crashing down.


               
"We are escaping," said Krishna Muktari, who runs a small grocery store in Kathmandu city, standing at a major road intersection. "How can you live here? I have got children, they can't be rushing out of the house all night."
               
Overwhelmed authorities were trying to cope with a shortage of drinking water, food and electricity, as well as the threat of disease, and the government appealed for international help.

READ MORE: Things you must know about earthquake  
               
"The big challenge is relief," said Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudel, the country's top bureaucrat. "We urge foreign countries to give us special relief materials and medical teams. We are really desperate for more foreign expertise to pull through this crisis."
               
High in the Himalayas, hundreds of climbers were staying put at Mount Everest base camp, where a huge avalanche after the earthquake killed 17 people in the single worst disaster to hit the world's highest mountain.
               
Rescue teams, helped by clear weather, used helicopters to airlift scores of people stranded at higher altitudes, two at a time.
               
Sick and wounded people were lying out in the open in  Kathmandu, unable to find beds in the devastated city's hospitals. Surgeons set up an operating theatre inside a tent in the grounds of Kathmandu Medical College.
               
Across the capital and beyond, exhausted families laid mattresses out on streets and erected tents to shelter from rain. People queued for water dispensed from trucks, while the few stores still open had next to nothing on their shelves.

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