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Powerful quake kills over 1,400 in Nepal, leaves 34 dead in India

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25 April 2015

A powerful earthquake measuring 7.9 on Richter scale struck Nepal and parts of India today killing more than 1,400 people in Nepal and leaving over 34 dead in India's Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. One person was reported dead in Bangladesh as well.

Powerful earthquakeThe shallow quake flattened houses and buildings, including the centuries-old Dharhara tower in western Katmandu in Nepal and triggered an avalanche on Mt Everest.

The shallow quake flattened houses and buildings, including the centuries-old Dharhara tower in western Katmandu in Nepal and triggered an avalanche on Mt Everest.

The western part of Nepal's capital Kathmandu alone reported more than 100 deaths, while scores have suffered injuries, leaving a pall over the valley, doctors and witnesses said.

The worst quake to hit Nepal in 81 years, the earthquake had its epicenter at Lamjung near Pokhara in Nepal and was felt as far as Tibet, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Pakistan.

The quake was felt around 80 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu, had its impact in several cities in Bihar, West Bengal and UP and across vast stretches of east and northeast India.

Kathmandu's Darbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was completely damaged in the quake.

The nearly two-century-old 9-storey landmark Dharhara tower in the centre of the capital collapsed and several people are feared trapped.

A policeman said that up to 200 people had been trapped there.

The Dharara Tower, built in 1832, was a landmark that had been open to visitors for the last 10 years and had a viewing balcony. A 10 metres high stump was all that was left of the 14-storey structure.

The US Geological Survey said at least 16 aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or greater were felt for a long time. The tremors lasted up to two minutes.

Nepalese home ministry sources said 686 people perished in the quake that left several thousand injured. However, a clearer picture on the fatalities will emerge only after the rescue and relief operations.

There was no information about any damage to the famous 5th century Pashupatinath temple.

Several buildings, most of them old, in the densely-populated Kathmandu Valley collapsed killing over 100 people in the city alone.

Video footages showed a number of buildings having caved in or developing huge cracks. Many of the city roads have suffered big craters in the impact.

Army, police and emergency workers were pressed into service for rescue and relief operations.

Indian embassy sources said some walls have collapsed in the impact of the major earthquake and the embassy has set up two helplines +977 98511 07021, +977 98511 35141.

In Uttar Pradesh, three deaths were reported from Barabanki district adjoining the state capital, two were reported from Gorakhpur and one from Sant Kabir Nagar.

A woman and two children were killed when an under-construction wall collapsed in Basantapur village in Mohammadpur Khala area in Barabanki.

In Gorakhpur, two persons, including a two-and-a-half-year-old child, were killed, police said.

An eight-year-old girl was killed when a house collapsed in Purwa village in Mehdawal area in Sant Kabir Nagar.

Six people died in Bihar's East Champaran and four in Sitamarhi districts which share borders with Nepal. Darbhanga reported two deaths, while one death each were reported from Supaul, Araria, West Champaran, Sheohar and Saran.

Another 48 people were injured in quake-related incidents in various parts of the state, which was hit by a devastating storm that claimed 55 lives on Tuesday night.

National Disaster Response Force teams have been rushed to many districts and chief minister Nitish Kumar is rushing back to Patna from New Delhi.

In West Bengal, where a state-wide civic election is on, three persons were killed in quake related incidents.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said two persons had died in Darjeeling and one in Jalpaiguri district.

Sixty-nine people were injured in Malda district in three places in roof collapse and stampede like situation as people inside buildings tried to rush out, district authorities said.

In Sikkim, the earthquake triggered landslides in various parts of the mountain state, official sources said. But there was no report of any loss of life so far, they added.

The previous major earthquake in 1934 with a magnitude 8.3 had killed over 8,500 people in Nepal.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the chief ministers of various states and convened a high-level meeting to take stock of the situation. He directed immediate dispatch of relief and rescue teams to earthquake-affected areas of the country as well as Nepal and ordered proper arrangements for evacuating stranded tourists from that country.





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