Deadly Earthquake Strikes Western Nepal, Leaving Dozens Dead and Injured
A powerful earthquake struck western Nepal, causing extensive damage and loss of life. At least 143 people were killed, and many others suffered injuries. This devastating quake hit the region of Jajarkot, leading to the collapse of numerous houses and causing tremors felt as far away as New Delhi, India.
Magnitude and Impact:
The earthquake occurred at 11.47 p.m. on Friday, with various sources providing different magnitude estimates. Nepal's National Seismological Centre reported a magnitude of 6.4, while the German Research Centre for Geosciences measured it at 5.7 (downgraded from 6.2), and the U.S. Geological Survey registered it as 5.6.
This event marks the deadliest earthquake in Nepal since 2015, when two separate earthquakes claimed the lives of around 9,000 people and caused significant destruction to towns, temples, and historical sites, resulting in severe economic losses.
Officials express concerns that the death toll from this recent earthquake may continue to rise. They've had difficulty establishing contact with remote areas near the epicenter, which is approximately 500 kilometers west of Kathmandu. Jajarkot, the heavily impacted district, consists of small villages scattered throughout hilly terrain with a population of 190,000.
The Situation and Response:
As of now, 92 people have been reported dead in Jajarkot and 36 in the neighboring Rukum West district. Reports indicated that at least 85 people were injured in Rukum West and 55 in Jajarkot. Residents spent the night outdoors, fearing aftershocks and avoiding damaged or collapsed houses. Videos and photos on social media show locals working together to rescue survivors from the rubble. Landslides triggered by the earthquake blocked roads, hampering search and rescue efforts.
Response from Authorities:
Nepal's Prime Minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, visited the affected area with a 16-member army medical team to oversee search, rescue, and relief operations. He expressed deep sorrow for the loss of life and property and directed security agencies to initiate immediate rescue and relief efforts.
As search and rescue teams work tirelessly to reach affected areas and assist survivors, the impact of this earthquake serves as a stark reminder of Nepal's vulnerability to seismic activity and the need for ongoing preparedness and response efforts in the region.