A powerful earthquake that slammed Nepal’s western Jajarkot district on Saturday caused more than 150 deaths and several injuries, according to officials. The earthquake also caused buildings as far away as New Delhi in neighbouring India to tremble.
The magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck on Friday at 11:47 pm (10:07 pm MUT), according to Nepal’s National Seismological Centre. The US Geological Survey recorded the earthquake as 5.6, but the German Research Centre for Geosciences downgraded it from 6.2 to 5.7.
This earthquake is the worst since two quakes in the Himalayan nation in 2015 claimed around 9,000 lives. In addition to more than a million homes being destroyed, entire cities, ancient temples, and other historical landmarks were reduced to rubble at that time.
Since they were unable to make touch with the mountainous region close to the epicentre, which is some 500 km (300 miles) west of the capital Kathmandu, where tremors were also reported, officials feared that the number of fatalities from Friday’s earthquake may increase. There are 190,000 people living in the area, which is made up of isolated hillside communities.
“The number of injured could be in the hundreds and the deaths could go up as well,” Harish Chandra Sharma, a district officer in Jajarkot, said while speaking with Reuters via phone. He also said, “Many houses have collapsed, many others have developed cracks. Thousands of residents spent the entire night in cold, open grounds because they were too scared to go in into the cracked houses as aftershocks struck. I have myself not been able to go in.”
According to police spokesperson Kuber Kadayat, there were 36 fatalities in the nearby Rukum West district and 92 in the Jajarkot district in the Karnali province. The settlement of Ramidanda served as the epicentre.
An official from the prime minister’s office stated that at least 85 people were hurt in Rukum West and 55 in Jajarkot, while Sharma stated that at least 50 people were hospitalised.
According to police official Namaraj Bhattarai, roads blocked by landslides caused by the earthquake must be cleared for search and rescue efforts to reach the affected districts.
In order to supervise search, rescue, and relief efforts, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and a 16-person army medical team left early on Saturday, according to his office.
In a message on the social networking site X, Dahal expressed his profound grief over the lives lost and the property destroyed in the earthquake and gave the order for security services to begin rescue and relief efforts right away. Large pieces of furniture were strewn over the crumbling façade of multi-story brick houses in the footage from the local media. As some buildings were evacuated, individuals could be seen rushing into the street in videos on X.
“Houses have collapsed. People rushed out of their homes. I am out in the crowd of terrified residents. We are trying to find details of damage,” said police official Santosh Rokka via phone.