Devastating earthquake kills over 150 in Nepal

Saturday, November 4, 2023



A devastating earthquake struck remote western Nepal, claiming more than 150 lives. The tremors were strongly felt even in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, and neighbouring Indian cities like Delhi and Kolkata. The affected districts, Jajarkot and West Rukum, located 500 km west of Kathmandu, have prompted a swift response from security forces engaged in rescue efforts.

Jajarkot and West Rukum are the two most popular offbeat locations in western Nepal. Tourism is deeply affected due to this natural tremor.

Rabi KC, Mayor of Aathbiskot municipality, described the fear and devastation, with hundreds of mud houses completely destroyed. The earthquake struck at midnight, causing people to rush outdoors. The subsequent aftershocks have forced many to spend the night outside, fearing further quakes and damage to their homes.

Local media displayed crumbled facades of multi-storied brick houses, and citizens worked tirelessly in the dark to rescue survivors from the rubble. UNICEF Nepal is assessing the damage and its impact on children and families.

Nepal’s Prime Minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, expressed his condolences for the loss of life and property caused by the earthquake, pledging immediate rescue and relief operations. However, landslides triggered by the quake are impeding search and rescue efforts, making it challenging to gather comprehensive information from remote areas.

The earthquake occurred at 23:47 local time, measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale according to the US Geological Survey. Being a shallow earthquake, it originated closer to the earth’s surface. Nepal’s seismic vulnerability, situated along the Himalayas, is well-documented, leading to frequent seismic activity.

This recent disaster recalls the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, which claimed the lives of 9,000 people and injured over 22,000. The first, a 7.8-magnitude quake on April 25, 2015, caused extensive damage and destruction. Numerous aftershocks followed, including a 7.3-magnitude quake in May that year. The devastation left over 800,000 houses in ruins, particularly in western and central districts. Additionally, government buildings, roads, and historic monuments in Kathmandu Valley, including UNESCO world heritage sites, were severely impacted.

Nepal must once again come together to overcome the consequences of this tragic earthquake, with rescue and relief efforts underway amidst challenging conditions.

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