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Quake-damaged homes inspected

More than 1,000 engineers are checking damaged houses in Nepal's capital and advising people about whether they are safe.

Nepal Engineers Association general-secretary Kishore Kumar Jha said about 13,000 families have asked his organisation to inspect their homes after the massive magnitude-7.8 earthquake near Kathmandu on April 25.

It is still unclear how many houses were damaged in the capital and how many are repairable.

Mr Jha said about 40% of the damaged houses they have inspected so far were considered safe.

Police say about one-third of Kathmandu's population has left the city since the earthquake. Many others have moved in with relatives, and some are staying in tents in open areas.

The association, which has 2,000 civil and structural engineers, has set up phone lines for people to request inspections.

"We have been receiving calls constantly. We are trying to reach as many people as possible," Mr Jha said.

Some modern buildings - including top hotels and expensive homes - appear to have escaped largely unscathed. But there is widespread damage in poorer neighbourhoods.

Much of Kathmandu's so-called old city area, home to many of its precious world heritage buildings, was destroyed. Many villages outside the capital also were completely flattened.

As aftershocks continue to shake the capital, many people remain scared to return to their homes.

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