An earthquake in Nepal has killed at least 150 people. Here’s what we know so far

Key Points
  • A 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal’s western Jajarkot area.
  • At least 150 people have been killed.
  • Local authorities have not been able to establish contact in the hilly epicenter area.

Rescue workers in Nepal have begun digging through the rubble of collapsed houses with their bare hands, searching for survivors after the country’s worst earthquake in eight years killed 157 people and shook buildings as far away as New Delhi.

What magnitude was the Nepal earthquake?

Nepal’s National Seismological Centre said the quake was a magnitude 6.4 but the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) later downgraded the magnitude to 5.7 and the US Geological Survey pegged it as a magnitude 5.6.
Officials fear the death toll could rise as first responders had reached the hilly area near the epicentre, 500km west of the capital Kathmandu, only early on Saturday and began searching for survivors.
“The number of injured could be in the hundreds and the deaths could go up as well,” Jajarkot district official Harish Chandra Sharma told Reuters by phone.
“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,” Sharma said.
“I have myself not been able to go in.”

Although the quake’s magnitude was not severe, the damage and the death toll are high due to the poor quality of construction in the area and because it struck while people slept, officials said.

Nepal’s National Seismological Centre said the quake occurred at 11:47 pm local time in Jajarkot district of Karnali province. Source: Google

Local media footage showed crumbled facades of multi-storied brick houses, with large pieces of furniture scattered.

Tremors were felt in neighbouring districts and as far away as Kathmandu, residents said.

“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 damages,” police official Santosh Rokka told Reuters by phone.

How have local authorities responded to the Nepal earthquake?

Rescue work was expected to be slow as emergency teams must first clear roads blocked by landslides in many places. Helicopters and small planes have been asked to be ready to join the effort.
The death toll from Friday’s earthquake included 105 people killed in Jajarkot and 52 in neighbouring Rukum West district, both in Karnali province, Rama Acharya, an official in the disaster department of the federal home ministry, told Reuters.
The epicentre was in the village of Ramidanda.
The National Seismological Centre said 175 aftershocks were recorded in Jajarkot and six of them were of magnitude 4 or higher.
Three towns and three villages were known to be affected in Jajarkot, which has a population of 190,000 with villages scattered in remote hills, authorities said.
At least 85 people were injured in Rukum West and 55 in Jajarkot, an official in the prime minister’s office said.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal flew to the area early on Saturday with a 16-member army medical team to oversee search, rescue and relief, his office said.

India feels Nepal earthquake

The earthquake shook buildings as far as New Delhi, about 600 km away, according to Reuters witnesses. Videos on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, showed people running into the street as some buildings were evacuated.

In 2015, about 9,000 people were killed in two earthquakes in Nepal. Whole towns, centuries-old temples and other historic sites were reduced to rubble, with more than a million houses destroyed, at a cost to the economy of $US6 billion ($9.21 billion).

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