Kathmandu - At least 128 people were killed in an overnight earthquake that struck a remote pocket of Nepal, officials said Saturday, as security forces deployed to assist with a frantic rescue effort.
The 5.6-magnitude quake hit the far west of the Himalayan country late Friday and was measured by the US Geological Survey at just 18 kilometres (11 miles) deep. Videos and photos posted on social media showed locals digging through rubble in the dark to pull survivors from the wreckage of collapsed homes and buildings.
Mud houses were flattened or damaged as survivors crouched outside for safety, as the sirens of emergency vehicles wailed. The quake was felt as far away as India's capital New Delhi, nearly 500 km from the epicentre, 42 km south of Jumla.
"The death toll has reached 128 and at least 100 have been injured," Karnali Province police spokesman Gopal Chandra Bhattarai told AFP. "The remoteness of the districts makes it difficult for information to get through."
Bhattarai said Nepali security forces had been deployed extensively to assist with search and rescue operations. "Some roads had been blocked by damage, but we are trying to reach the area through alternate routes," he added. The district hospital was packed with residents bringing in injured victims.
- 'Human and physical damages' - Nepal lies on a significant geological faultline where the Indian tectonic plate pushes into the Eurasian plate, forming the Himalayas, and earthquakes are a regular occurrence. "We have information that there have been human and physical damages in two districts because of the quake," said home ministry spokesman Nararyan Prasad Bhattarai. Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal expressed "his deep sorrow over the human and physical damage caused by the earthquake".
Nearly 9,000 people died and more than 22,000 were injured in 2015 when a 7.8-magnitude quake struck Nepal, destroying more than half a million homes. It damaged or destroyed nearly 8,000 schools, leaving almost one million children without classrooms. Hundreds of monuments and royal palaces -- including the Kathmandu Valley's UNESCO World Heritage sites -- that had drawn visitors from around the world were destroyed, in a major blow to tourism.
Six people died in November last year when a 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck Doti district, near Jajarkot. Indian social media users reported feeling Friday's quake in the northern cities of Lucknow and Patna. It was followed several hours later by an aftershock in the same area with a 4.0 magnitude, USGS said. pm-slb-gle/cwl
The Himalayan country of Nepal was hit by an earthquake on Friday in which 128 people were killed and dozens injured, with officials fearing the toll could rise.
The poor, mountainous nation wedged between Asian giants China and India has been hit by quakes often, with the deadliest recorded in 2015 when about 9,000 people were killed in two earthquakes.
Whole towns, centuries-old temples and other historic sites were reduced to rubble then, with more than 1 million houses destroyed, at a cost to the economy of $6 billion
. Below are details of Nepal’s deadly quakes since 2015.
NOV 3, 2023
At least 128 people were killed and dozens injured when a strong earthquake struck the western area of Jajarkot. Houses in the area collapsed and buildings as far away as New Delhi's capital in neighbouring India shook.
The German Research Centre for Geosciences measured the quake at magnitude 5.7, while the U.S. Geological Survey pegged it at 5.6.
OCT 3, 2023
Two earthquakes rocked western Nepal, injuring 17 people, damaging homes and triggering a landslide that blocked a major highway.
The landslide after the quakes of magnitude 6.3 and 5.3 in the district of Bajhang, bordering India, blocked the road to the southern plains.
JAN 24, 2023
At least one person died and more than two dozen houses were damaged in a remote Nepalese district after an earthquake of magnitude 5.6.
Tremors were felt as far away as New Delhi.
NOV 12, 2022
An earthquake of magnitude 5.4 struck Nepal, shaking houses in the Himalayan country and India.
NOV 9, 2022
An earthquake in western Nepal killed at least six villagers, four of them children, as the tremor destroyed mud and brick houses in remote communities living in the foothills of the Himalayas. SEPT 16, 2020 An earthquake measuring magnitude 6 struck Nepal and tremors caused by the quake were felt in the capital, Kathmandu. APRIL AND MAY 2015
The worst earthquake in Nepal's history struck at four minutes to midday on April 25. It measured magnitude 7.8 and was followed by a second tremor 17 days later, killing 9,000 people in total. The previous deadliest earthquake to strike the country, in 1934, killed at least 8,519 in Nepal, as well as thousands more in India.