KATHMANDU, Nov 4 (Reuters) – At least 69 people were killed and dozens injured when a powerful earthquake struck the western region of Jajarkot in Nepal on Friday. shook.
The Nepal National Seismological Center reported that the earthquake measured 6.4 on the Richter scale. But the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ) later lowered the scale to 5.7, and the US Geological Survey estimated it at 5.6.
Local officials said contact could not be established in the area near the heart of Jajarkot, a hilly district with a population of 190,000.
Jajarkot local official Harish Chandra Sharma said at least 34 people were killed in his district, while police official Namraj Bhattarai said at least 35 died in the neighboring Ruk West district.
“Rescue and search teams will have to clear roads blocked by earthquake-dried landslides to reach the affected areas,” said Patarai.
Ramithanda, the epicenter of the quake, is yet to be reached by authorities.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal expressed deep grief over the loss of life and property in the earthquake and in a post on social media X, popularly known as Twitter, directed security agencies to immediately initiate rescue and relief operations.
At least 20 people were taken to hospital with injuries, Jajarkot district official Suresh Sunar told Reuters by phone.
“I myself am out in the open. We are collecting details but it is difficult to get information from remote areas due to cold and night,” he told Reuters.
Nepal’s National Seismological Center said the earthquake struck Jajarkot district of Karnali province at 11:47 pm (1802 GMT). Jajarkot is about 500 km (310 mi) west of the capital Kathmandu.
Local media footage showed the crumbling facades of multi-story brick houses, with large pieces of furniture strewn about.
Residents said the quake was felt in neighboring districts and as far as Kathmandu.
“Houses have collapsed. People have left their homes. I am in a crowd of panicked residents. We are trying to find out the details of the damage,” police officer Santosh Rokha told Reuters by phone.
According to Reuters witnesses, the quake shook buildings as far away as New Delhi, about 600 km (375 miles) away. Videos on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, showed people running in the street as some buildings were evacuated.
Around 9,000 people were killed in two earthquakes in Nepal in 2015. Entire cities, centuries-old temples and other historic sites were razed to the ground, more than a million homes destroyed, costing the economy $6 billion.
Reporting by Aditya Kalra, Gopal Sharma, Shivam Patel, Gnaneshwar Rajan and Jahnavi Nidumolu; Editing by Chris Reese, Jonathan Otis, Cynthia Osterman, David Gregorio and Sandra Maler
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