Posted on

Hundreds dead in Nepal quake


AP

Hundreds dead in Nepal quake

Social Share
Share

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) – A powerful earthquake struck Nepal Saturday, killing at least 926 people across a swath of four countries as the violently shaking earth collapsed houses, levelled centuries-old temples and triggered avalanches on Mt Everest.

It was the worst tremor to hit the poor South Asian nation in over 80 years.

At least 876 people were confirmed dead in Nepal, according to the police. Another 34 were killed in India, 12 in Tibet and two in Bangladesh. Two Chinese citizens died in the Nepal-China border. The death toll is almost certain to rise, said deputy Inspector General of Police Komal Singh Bam.

It was a few minutes before noon when the quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 7.8, began to rumble across the densely populated Kathmandu Valley, rippling through the capital Kathmandu and spreading in all directions – north toward the Himalayas and Tibet, south to the Indo-Gangetic plains, east toward the Brahmaputra delta of Bangladesh and west toward the historical city of Lahore in Pakistan.

Shrish Vaidya, a businessman, was with his family in his two-story house on the outskirts of Kathmandu, when the quake struck.

“It is hard to describe. The house was shaking like crazy. We ran out and it seemed like the road was heaving up and down,” he told The Associated Press. “I don’t remember anything like this before. Even my parents can’t remember anything this bad.”

A magnitude-6.6 aftershock hit about an hour later, and smaller aftershocks continued to jolt the region for hours. Residents ran out of homes and buildings in panic. Walls tumbled, trees swayed, power lines came crashing down and large cracks opened up on streets and walls. And clouds of dust began to swirl all around.

Volunteers help remove debris of a building that collapsed at Durbar Square, after an earthquake in Kathmandu.

nepal-2

“Our village has been almost wiped out. Most of the houses are either buried by landslide or damaged by shaking,” said Vim Tamang, a resident of Manglung village near the epicentre. He said half of the village folks are either missing or dead. “All the villagers have gathered in the open area. We don’t know what to do. We are feeling helpless,” he said when contacted by telephone.

Within hours of the quake, hospitals began to fill up with dozens of injured people. With organised relief largely absent, many of the injured were brought to hospitals by friends and relatives in motorised rickshaws, flatbed trucks and cars.

In Kathmandu, dozens of people gathered in the parking lot of Norvic International Hospital, where thin mattresses were spread on the ground for patients rushed outside, some wearing hospital pyjamas. A woman with a bandage on her head sat in a set of chairs pulled from the hospital waiting room.

Doctors and nurses hooked up some patients to intravenous drips in the parking lot, or gave people oxygen.

As night fell, thousands of scared residents continued to camp out in parks and compounds, too scared to return to their homes. Meteorologists forecast rain and thunderstorms for Saturday night and Sunday.

Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, who was attending a summit in Jakarta, tried to rush back home but made it as far as Bangkok where his connecting flight to Kathmandu was cancelled because the capital’s international airport was shut down.

 

LAST NEWS