Severe earthquake of 5.6 magnitude in Nepal, more than 140 people died

More than 140 people died when a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck a remote area of Nepal early Saturday. Karnali province police spokesman Gopal Chandra Bhattarai told news outlets that more than 100 people were injured.

The US Geological Survey said the quake struck late Friday at a depth of just 18 kilometers (11 miles) in the Himalayan country’s far west. Videos and images shared on social media showed locals digging deep in the dark to pull out survivors from the debris as the earthquake caused homes and buildings to collapse.

Mud houses collapsed or were damaged as survivors huddled outside seeking safety, AFP reported. Mud houses collapsed or were damaged as survivors ducked out for safety as the sirens of emergency vehicles blared. The earthquake’s shock was felt till New Delhi. The epicenter of the earthquake was 42 km south of Jumla.

“In our district, 26 people have died and many have been injured. It is still night and it is difficult to get all the information. The death toll may rise,” said Jajarkot district chief Suresh Sunar.

Jajarkot District Hospital was packed with residents bringing injured victims. Namraj Bhattarai, police chief of the neighboring Rukum West zone, said at least 36 people were killed and 85 injured in the area. “We are working on rescue efforts,” he said.

The Himalayan nation lies on a major geological faultline where the Indian tectonic plate moves upward into the Eurasian plate. The Himalayas were formed millions of years ago and earthquakes occur regularly in this region.

“We are aware that the earthquake has caused human and physical damage in two districts, and security forces have been deployed for rescue operations. (The numbers) are still unconfirmed,” said Home Ministry spokesperson Narayan Prasad Bhattarai.

The government deployed security forces to help rescue efforts.

Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal “expressed deep sorrow over the human and physical loss caused by the earthquake”. A magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015 killed nearly 9,000 people and injured more than 22,000, destroying more than half a million homes. It damaged or destroyed about 8,000 schools, leaving about one million children without classrooms. Total economic damage from the disaster was estimated at $7 billion.

In November last year, six people were killed when a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck Doti district near Jajarkot.

Indian social media users reported feeling Friday’s earthquake through social media updates. People in Bihar’s capital Patna and Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow also said that they could feel tremors.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply saddened by the loss of life and damage to property caused by the earthquake in Nepal”. In a post on Twitter, PM Modi said: “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 speedy recovery.”