Nepal teenager rescued
Earthquake survivor Pema Lama, 15, is rescued by the Armed Police Force from the collapsed Hilton Hotel, the result of an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal on April 30, 2015.
Adnan Abidi—Reuters
April 30, 2015 2:16 PM EDT

Kathmandu, Nepal — Up to 15,000 people may have died in the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal over the weekend, the country’s army chief told NBC News in an exclusive interview on Thursday.

The official death toll from Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude quake quake currently stands at 5,800.

“Our estimates are not looking good. We are thinking that 10,000 to 15,000 may be killed,” said Gen. Gaurav Rana, who is leading the nationwide rescue effort.

Rana acknowledged that massive temblor left officials struggling to cope with the aftermath — including the risk of disease and growing public…

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