Nearly 1,500 dead in Nepal, 51 in India
Kathmandu/NEW DELHI: Nepal was on Saturday struck by the worst earthquake in 80 years, leaving nearly 1,500 people, including two Indians, dead in flattened houses and buildings including the iconic Dharhara tower and renowned Darbar Square in the heart of the capital.
At least 51 people were killed and 237 injured in various parts of India in the powerful earthquake.
The quake measuring 7.9 on Richter scale, which was followed by 16 aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or greater, striking heavy casualties in Kathmandu and injuring thousand others.
Hundreds were feared missing across the country. “Army estimates death toll as much as 1457 so far,” Nepal’s Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat tweeted.
He said, “90 per cnt of approx 1000 homes and huts reduced to rubble in Barpak Larpak area.”
Two Indians, including the daughter of an Indian embassy employee, were among those killed in the powerful earthquake, an Indian embassy official said. A house in the Indian Embassy complex collapsed, killing the daughter of a CPWD employee.
Death of another Indian was reported at Bir Hospital. Fifty-two stranded Indians were tonight flown back home by an Indian Air Force aircraft from the Nepalese capital.
Another 200 Indians stuck in Kathmandu are expected to be brought back by tomorrow. According to Nepalese Home Ministry figures, 150 people lost lives in neighbouring Bhaktapur, 250 in Sindhu, 67 in Lalitpur and 37 in Dhading district. Besides, 20 people were killed in the country’s eastern region, 33 in western region and rest in other parts of the Himalayan nation.
The earthquake around 11:56 am with epicentre at Lamjung, around 80 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu, had its impact in several cities in Bihar, West Bengal and UP and tremors were felt across vast stretches of east and northeast India.
It was also felt in Southern and Western parts of India, China, Bhutan and as far as Pakistan and Bangladesh. Miraculously the famous 5th century Pashupatinath temple here was undamaged, while a number of old temples were razed. Several buildings, most of them old, in the densely- populated Kathmandu Valley collapsed, killing hundreds.
Over 200 bodies have been retrieved from the debris of two-century old nine-storey landmark Dharhara tower in the centre of the capital. Kathmandu’s Darbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was completely damaged in the quake which was the worst to hit Nepal and surrounding regions after the earthquake of 8.4 magnitude which occurred along the Nepal-Bihar border in 1934.
Video footages showed a number of buildings having caved in or developing huge cracks. Many of the city roads have suffered wide craters in the impact, affecting movement of vehicles and rescue operations. Army, police and emergency workers were pressed into service for rescue of those trapped and rushing injured survivors to hospitals. Many of the injured could be seen suffering bleeding injuries covered in dust from the debris. (PTI)