At least 157 dead in Nepal earthquake


Published: 2023-11-05 10:35

Last Updated: 2024-04-16 08:50

At least 157 dead in Nepal earthquake
At least 157 dead in Nepal earthquake

At least 157 people were killed in an overnight earthquake that struck a remote pocket of Nepal, officials said Saturday, as security forces rushed to assist with rescue efforts.

The force of the 5.6-magnitude tremor jolted households awake and flattened mud houses in communities across isolated western districts of the Himalayan Republic late Friday.

"There was a very big noise when the houses came down. It felt like a big explosion," Shiva Prasad Sharma, 65, told AFP from outside the destroyed remnants of his home in Jajarkot, the district hit worst by the quake.

"I thought we were going to die," he added. "No one has anything left. There are no houses left to stay in".

Locals frantically dug through rubble in the dark to pull survivors from the wreckage of collapsed homes and buildings, as others crouched outside for safety.

The quake was felt as far away as India's capital New Delhi, nearly 500 kilometers from the epicenter.

"The toll from the quake has reached 157 -- 105 in Jajarkot and 52 in Rukum," national police spokesman Kuber Kathayat told AFP.
Another 199 were injured in the quake, he added.

Home ministry spokesman Narayan Prasad Bhattarai said the toll was unlikely to increase significantly.

"We are now in touch with all areas," he told AFP. "It is possible some bodies might still be found under the rubble."

Security forces were deployed on foot and in helicopters to assist with search and rescue operations.

"The remoteness of the districts makes it difficult for information to get through," Karnali Province police spokesman Gopal Chandra Bhattarai told AFP.

"Some roads had been blocked by damage, but we are trying to reach the area through alternate routes."

Dozens of survivors with fractures and head injuries were raced for treatment to a hospital in Nepalgunj, a small city near the Indian border.

"It came when we were sleeping," Kamala Oli, a woman cradling her infant child at a hospital treating survivors, told AFP.

"There were three of us in the house. Only two of us lived," she added, without giving further details.