Over 450 killed in Nepal due to earthquake - RNews1 Network

Over 450 killed in Nepal due to earthquake

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Kathmandu : A powerful earthquake struck Nepal Saturday, reportedly killing over 450 people across a swath of four countries as the violently shaking earth collapsed houses, leveled centuries-old temples and triggered avalanches in the Himalayas. It was the worst temblor to hit the poor South Asian nation in over 80 years.

At least 449 people were confirmed dead in Nepal, including 181 in the capital, Kathmandu alone, according to the police. Another 20 were killed in India, six in Tibet and two in Bangladesh. Two Chinese citizens died at the Nepal-China border.

The quake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.8 struck before noon and was most severely felt in the capital as well as the densely populated Kathmandu Valley. A magnitude-6.6 aftershock hit about an hour later, and smaller aftershocks continued to ripple through the region for hours.

Dozens of people with injuries were being brought to the main hospital in central Kathmandu. Pushpa Das, a labourer, ran from the house when the first quake struck but could not escape a collapsing wall that injured his arm.

“It was very scary. The earth was moving ... I am waiting for treatment but the (hospital) staff is overwhelmed,” he said, gingerly holding his right arm with his left hand. As he spoke dozens of more people showed up with injuries, mostly from falling bricks.

The earthquake also shook several cities across northern India, and was felt as far away as Lahore in Pakistan, Lhasa in Tibet, and in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Following the quake, Kathmandu’s international airport was shut down.

A senior mountaineering guide, Ang Tshering, said an avalanche swept the face of Mt. Everest after the earthquake, and government officials said at least 30 people were injured.

Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association said the avalanche occurred between the Khumbu Icefall, a rugged area of collapsed ice and snow, and the base camp where most climbing expeditions have their main camps.

Carsten Lillelund Pedersen, a Dane who is climbing the Everest with a Belgian climber Jelle Veyt, said on his Facebook page that they were at Khumbu Icefall , a rugged area of collapsed ice and snow close to base camp at altitude 5,000 meters (16,500 feet) when the earthquake hit.

The quake’s epicenter was 80 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu, and it had a depth of only 11 kilometers, which is considered shallow in geological terms. The shallower the quake the more destructive power it carries, and witnesses said the trembling and swaying of the earth went on for several minutes..

As the quake began to intensify, residents ran out of homes and buildings in panic. Clouds of dust began to swirl around them. Large cracks opened up on streets and walls.

Several buildings collapsed in the center of the capital, the ancient Old Kathmandu, including centuries-old temples and towers, said resident Prachanda Sual.

Among them was the nine-storey Dharahara Tower, one of Kathmandu’s landmarks built by Nepal’s royal rulers as a watchtower in the 1800s and a UNESCO-recognized historical monument. It was reduced to rubble and there were reports of people trapped underneath.



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