At least 138 dead in earthquake in Nepal
A strong earthquake wakes people in Nepal in their sleep – and has devastating consequences. Even hours later, helpers cannot reach all affected areas.
In the event of a strong earthquake At least 138 people have died in Nepal. In addition, at least 166 people were injured, said a police spokesman in the capital Kathmandu. The number of victims could still rise, especially since there was initially no confirmed information from several areas cut off from the outside world. According to measurements by the National Earthquake Monitoring Center (NEMRC), the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.4 and occurred at 11:47 p.m. local time in the evening, when many people were sleeping.
“We have reports that many people are buried under rubble,” said Harischandra Sharma, an administrative representative from Jajarkot district, where the center of the quake was located. Shortly after the quake, rescue work began in some affected areas.
However, the helpers were initially unable to reach other places in the mountainous Himalayan country because roads were blocked by landslides. In some cases, helpers could only arrive on foot and not by vehicle. Footage on local television station Kantipur TV showed villagers without protective equipment pulling a woman from the rubble. They used spades and headlamps.
The quake was also felt in the north of neighboring India, including in the capital New Delhi, as the “Times of India” and other Indian media reported.
Spent the night outdoors
Sete Giri, a village official in Jajarkot district, said hundreds of houses were damaged. Many residents then spent the night outdoors. “Many houses were traditionally built – made of stone and clay,” said Giri. “That could be the reason for the damage.”
The affected areas are among the poorest in the poor country in South Asia. Some roads and other infrastructure are missing there. Giri said that currently many migrant workers who regularly work in richer neighboring India have returned home for important Hindu holidays such as the upcoming Diwali festival of lights.
Emergency treatment by air
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said he would visit the affected areas by helicopter with other senior government officials. He expressed his condolences. Injured people should also be taken by air to hospitals for emergency treatment – including in the capital Kathmandu – as the affected areas do not have the appropriate infrastructure, as local media reported.
The earthquake caused the most deaths in Nepal since the severe quake around eight years ago – in spring 2015 – in which around 9,000 people died and millions more were left homeless. At that time, the area around the capital Kathmandu was shaken. Numerous buildings collapsed, including UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Himalayan region, in which Nepal is located, is geologically extremely active. There the Indian continental plate is pushing under the Eurasian plate – which repeatedly leads to earthquakes – there have been several in the past few weeks.