April 25, 2015 2:00 pm
Updated: April 25, 2015 11:12 pm

At least 388 Canadians registered in earthquake devastated Nepal: officials

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WATCH: The magnitude 7.8 tremor hit a heavily populated area near the capital of Kathmandu, causing catastrophic damage. Nearly 1400 people are confirmed dead in four countries, and that number is expected to climb higher. Canada is preparing to send our disaster response team. Jill Bennett has more.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canadian diplomats in earthquake ravaged Nepal are working with local authorities to account for Canadians who were in the Asian country.

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Harper issued a statement offering his condolences to the people of Nepal who are trying to cope with the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude quake that shook the country today.

READ MORE: Nepal police say death toll from earthquake has reached at least 1,800

He says Canadian diplomats are also assessing Nepal’s needs to determine if Canada can provide disaster assistance.

Foreign Affairs says there are 388 Canadians registered as being in Nepal, but cautions that’s only an estimate as registration is voluntary.

WATCH: Foreign Minister Rob Nicholson says that Canada has reached out to the United Nations and Red Cross to assist in disaster relief efforts in Nepal.

In Vancouver, the owners of Café Kathmandu spent much of the day desperately trying to reach family members back home.

“We haven’t slept the whole night,” says Abi Sharma. “We are first-generation immigrants from Nepal. I have 50 or so immediate family members, and I’m the only one who is here.”

“I can’t explain it, it’s really hard. You just want to be there in a second…I want to know whether they are safe or not,” says his co-owner Pradeep Sharma (the two are not related).

World Vision Canada child protection specialist Reena Vohra of Toronto was visiting the ancient city of Bhaktapur, about 20 kilometres outside of Kathmandu, when the quake hit.

READ MORE: 8 dead on Everest, unknown missing as quake-triggered avalanche sweeps Nepal

Vohra, who is currently in Kathmandu, says she was walking in a narrow alley when the quake hit.

She says buildings were crumbling all around the group she was with.

READ MORE: How you can help the victims of the Nepal earthquake

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