Deadly Nepal Earthquake Claims 157 Lives, Posing Challenges For Rescuers
Deadly Nepal earthquake claims 157 lives, posing challenges for rescuersas they manually dig through the debris of collapsed homes, striving to locate survivors. The powerful earthquake struck a remote region in northwestern Nepal overnight on Friday, resulting in the tragic loss of several lives, with the possibility of the death toll increasing, as per the police and officials.
The earthquake had a magnitude of 5.6, as reported by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and its epicenter was located approximately 42 kilometers (around 26 miles) from Jumla, a town in Karnali province, Nepal. This seismic event occurred at a relatively shallow depth of 18 kilometers, causing its tremors to be felt as far away as New Delhi, the capital of India.
We are only focused on search and rescue operations right now. That's why we don't yet have a proper estimate of collapsed and damaged houses and other infrastructure. There are some villages where an estimated 90% of houses have collapsed.- Nepal police spokesperson Kuber Kadayat
According to Kadayat, the earthquake on Friday caused 157 confirmed fatalities and 170 injuries, making it the deadliest quake since 2015. Specifically, in the Jajarkot district, situated near the epicenter of the earthquake, 105 casualties have been confirmed, along with 55 people sustaining injuries.
According to Kadayat, 52 people lost their lives, and 85 more sustained injuries in the nearby Rukum West district. Disturbing footage has depicted numerous houses reduced to piles of rubble and timber in the Jajarkot region.
The seismic tremors were perceptible in New Delhi, approximately 600 kilometers (about 370 miles) distant, as well as in various other regions of northern India. These tremors rattled buildings and prompted residents to evacuate into the streets during the late nighttime hours. Officials in the northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, both of which share borders with Nepal, have confirmed that no reports of damage have been received from these areas.
Nepal is prone to frequent earthquakes due to its location at the convergence of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates, which give rise to the towering Himalayan mountain range. A grim reminder of this seismic vulnerability was the devastating earthquake of 2015, with a magnitude of 7.8, claiming the lives of at least 9,000 people. This catastrophic event inflicted extensive damage, impacting over a million homes and structures throughout the nation, resulting in an estimated $6 billion in losses.
Officials have expressed concerns to Reuters that the casualties from Friday's earthquake could mount, primarily because they have been unable to establish communication in the rugged terrain near the epicenter, located approximately 500 kilometers (around 300 miles) to the west of the capital, Kathmandu, where tremors were also felt.
The number of injured could be in the hundreds and the deaths could go up as well. Many houses have collapsed, and many others have developed cracks. Thousands of residents spent the entire night in cold, open grounds because they were too scared to go into the cracked houses as aftershocks struck.- Jajarkot district official Harish Chandra Sharma
Jajarkot district, which is home to approximately 190,000 residents, features villages spread across remote hills. Images shared by the AFP news agency captured survivors congregating at Jajarkot's primary hospital.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the earthquake victims.
"Deeply saddened by loss of lives and damage due to the earthquake in Nepal," Modi wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. "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."