(Shirish B Pradhan)
Kathmandu, Nov 4 (PTI) A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal just before midnight on Friday, killing at least 140 people and injuring hundreds in a remote mountainous region of the Himalayan country. Houses were damaged.
This is the most destructive earthquake in Nepal since 2015.
According to the National Earthquake Monitoring and Research Centre, the earthquake occurred at 11.47 pm, with its epicenter in Jajarkot district.
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake and subsequent aftershocks in Nepal in 2015 killed nearly 9,000 people and injured more than 22,000. The recent earthquake is the most destructive earthquake to hit the country since 2015.
The impact of the earthquake was felt in Kathmandu and its surrounding districts and even in New Delhi, the capital of neighboring India.
According to Nepal Army spokesperson Krishna Prasad Bhandari, Nepal Army deployed its personnel on Friday to carry out rescue operations at the incident site immediately after the earthquake.
Jajarkot and Rukum districts of western Nepal were worst affected by the earthquake, according to state-run Nepal Television.
The Prime Minister’s Secretariat said that the number of people killed due to the earthquake in Jajarkot and Rukum has increased to 140 and the same number of people have been injured. The death toll is expected to increase further.
Sarita Singh, deputy mayor of Nalgarh municipality in Jajarkot, was also among those killed in the earthquake, officials said.
The National Earthquake Monitoring and Research Center said that about 159 aftershocks have been recorded after the earthquake that occurred on Friday night.
Many people stayed out overnight fearing another earthquake and possible damage to their houses. According to posts shared on social media, people were seen pulling people out from the debris of collapsed buildings in the darkness.
Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpakamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ visited the site along with a medical team on Saturday morning, officials said.
He collected information to assess the damage caused by the earthquake and inspected the affected areas along with the Chief District Officer. He then returned from Jajarkot to Surkhet with the seven injured and their family members.
Officials said that Nepal’s army and police have been deployed in rescue operations. All three security agencies of the country – Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Forces – have been deployed in rescue operations.
The Prime Minister’s Office wrote on the social media platform ‘X’, “Prime Minister Pushpakamal Dahal has expressed deep condolences over the loss of life and property in the earthquake that occurred on Friday night. They have deployed all three security bodies for immediate relief and rescue.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday expressed grief over the loss of life and property due to the earthquake in Nepal and said India stands in solidarity with its neighboring country and is ready to provide it with all possible facilities.
Tagging Prachanda on the social media platform ‘X’, Prime Minister Modi wrote, “I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and property due to the earthquake in Nepal. India stands in solidarity with the people of Nepal and is ready to provide all possible assistance. We express our condolences to the bereaved families and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.
Officials said that the injured are undergoing treatment at Surkhet District Hospital. Prime Minister Prachanda has instructed the security agencies to carry out rescue and relief work immediately.
President Ramchandra Paudel has expressed grief over the loss of life and property in the earthquake.
Officials said rescue and relief operations at the incident site were hampered due to blocked roads and damaged bridges.
Earthquakes occur frequently in Nepal. Actually, Nepal is situated on the mountain range where the Tibetan and Indian tectonic plates meet and every century they move about two meters closer to each other, resulting in pressure and earthquakes.
Language Simmi Santosh