KATHMANDU (Reuters) – At least 69 people were killed and dozens injured in Nepal on Friday when a strong earthquake struck the Jajarkot region in the west of the country, and witnesses said that homes in the area and buildings collapsed as far as New Delhi, India. rock.
Nepal’s National Seismological Center said the quake had a magnitude of 6.4, but the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ) later downgraded its magnitude to 5.7 and the US Geological Survey estimated it to be 5.6.
Local officials said it was not possible to establish contact in the area near the epicenter in Jajarkot, a mountainous region with a population of 190,000 and villages scattered in the remote hills.
Harish Chandra Sharma, a district official in Jajarkot, said at least 34 people were killed in his district, while police official Namraj Bhattarai said at least 35 people were reported in the neighboring West Rukum district.
“Rescue and search teams have to open roads blocked by dry landslides due to the earthquake to reach the affected areas,” Bhattarai said.
The authorities have not yet been able to reach the Ramidanda area, where the epicenter is located.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives and property in the earthquake and ordered security agencies to begin immediate rescue and relief operations, in a post on social media site
Suresh Sonar, an official in Jajarkot district, told Reuters by phone that at least 20 people were taken to hospital with injuries.
“I am out in the open myself,” he told Reuters. “We are collecting details, but because of the cold and the night, it is difficult to get information from remote areas.”
The National Seismological Center in Nepal said that the earthquake occurred at 11:47 pm (1802 GMT) in the Jajarkot region of Karnali province. Jajarkot is located about 500 kilometers west of the capital, Kathmandu.
Footage published by local media showed the dilapidated facades of multi-storey houses, with large pieces of furniture scattered.
Residents said the tremors were felt in neighboring areas and as far away as Kathmandu.
“Houses have collapsed. People rushed out of their homes. I am in the crowd of terrified residents. We are trying to find details about the damage,” police official Santosh Roka told Reuters by phone.
Reuters witnesses said the earthquake shook buildings as far as New Delhi, about 600 km away. Videos on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, showed people running into the street while some buildings were evacuated.
In 2015, about 9,000 people were killed in two earthquakes that struck Nepal. Entire cities, centuries-old temples and other historical sites were reduced to rubble, with more than a million homes destroyed, at a cost to the economy of $6 billion.
(Reporting by Aditya Kalra, Gopal Sharma, Shivam Patel, Jnaneshwar Rajan and Jahnavi Nedumulu – Preparing by Mohammed for the Arabic Bulletin – Preparing by Mohammed for the Arabic Bulletin) Editing by Chris Reese, Jonathan Oatis, Cynthia Osterman, David Gregorio and Sandra Maler
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