128 killed as strong earthquake jolts Nepal

At least 128 people were killed and several others injured when a powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake jolted Nepal just before midnight on Friday, collapsing houses in the Himalayan country’s remote mountainous region.

According to the National Earthquake Monitoring and Research Centre, the earthquake with an epicentre in Jajarkot district was recorded at 11.47 pm.

The impact of the quake was felt in Kathmandu and surrounding districts, and even in New Delhi in neighbouring India.

The Nepal Army mobilised its personnel Friday soon after the earthquake to carry out rescue works at the incident site, according to Nepal Army spokesperson Krishna Prasad Bhandari.

The Jajarkot and Rukum districts of western Nepal were worst hit by the quake, according to state-run Nepal Television.

According to the Home Ministry, 128 people were killed and 141 others were injured in the two districts. The number of houses damaged could not be ascertained so far. The death toll is expected to rise.

Deputy Mayor Sarita Singh of Nalgadh Municipality in Jajarkot was among those killed in the quake, officials said.

At least four aftershocks of more than 4 magnitude hit Jajarkot after the quake.

A 4.5 magnitude tremor hit at 12.08 am, 4.2 at 12.029, 4.3 at 12.35 and 4.6 at 4.16 am, according to the National Earthquake Monitoring Centre.

Many people spent the night in the open because of fear of further quakes and damage to their houses. People were seen digging through the rubble in the dark to rescue trapped people from the remains of collapsed buildings, according to posts on social media.

Prime Minister Pushpakamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ reached the quake-hit region with a medical team Saturday morning. Both Nepal Army and Nepal Police personnel have been mobilised to carry out rescue work, officials said.

‘Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has expressed his deep sorrow over the loss of lives and property in the earthquake on Friday night and has mobilised all the three security bodies for the immediate rescue and relief,’ reads a post from the prime minister’s office on X.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was deeply saddened by the loss of lives and damage due to the earthquake in Nepal.

‘India stands in solidarity with the people of Nepal and is ready to extend all possible assistance. Our thoughts are with the bereaved families and we wish the injured a quick recovery,’ Modi posted on X tagging his counterpart Prachanda.

Injured people are undergoing treatment at the Surkhet District Hospital, officials said.

The prime minister has instructed security agencies to immediately carry out rescue and relief works.

As the roads were blocked and bridges damaged, rescue and relief works on the incident site have been obstructed, according to officials.

All three security agencies, the Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force have been mobilised for rescue works.

Earthquakes are common in Nepal which is situated on the ridge where the Tibetan and Indian tectonic plates meet and advance two meters closer to one another every century which results in pressure which is released in the form of earthquakes.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake and subsequent aftershocks killed around 9,000 people in 2015.

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