129 Dead in Earthquake in Northwestern Nepal
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At least 129 people lost their lives in a powerful earthquake that struck a remote area of northwestern Nepal on Friday night. The earthquake, measuring 5.6 magnitude, caused several buildings to collapse, and authorities are warning that the death toll may rise.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake originated 42 km from Jumla, in Karnali province. The Jajarkot district, near the epicenter, experienced the highest casualties, with 92 people confirmed dead and 55 others injured. In the nearby Rukam West district, 37 lost their lives and 85 sustained injuries.
Nepal is no stranger to earthquakes as it sits on the convergence point of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates, which form the mighty Himalayan mountain range. In 2015, a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed over 9,000 people and caused widespread destruction.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal immediately traveled to the affected area. Images from AFP/Getty showcased survivors seeking help at the Jajarkot district hospital and debris scattered across the streets. The challenging mountainous terrain surrounding the epicenter has made it difficult for officials to establish contact, raising concerns of a potential rise in casualties. Tremors from the earthquake were also felt in the capital city of Kathmandu, 500 kilometers to the east.
Harish Chandra Sharma, an official from the Jajarkot district, expressed his worry about the increasing number of injured and fatalities. As many houses collapsed or developed cracks, thousands of residents spent the night in open fields, fearing aftershocks.
Jajarkot district, with a population of 190,000, is mainly scattered in remote hills. The AFP news agency shared images of survivors gathering at the primary hospital in Jajarkot.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences and offered assistance to Nepal. In a X, formerly known as Twitter, Modi wrote, “Deeply saddened by the loss of life and damage caused by the earthquake in Nepal. India stands in solidarity with the people of Nepal and is ready to extend all possible help. Our thoughts are with the bereaved families, and we wish the injured a speedy recovery.”
As rescue and relief efforts continue, the focus remains on locating and providing aid to survivors in the affected region. The Nepalese government, with support from international partners, is working tirelessly to mitigate the consequences of this devastating earthquake.