Magnitude 7.8 Quake Rocks Nepal

The worst earthquake in eighty years has rocked the mountainous Nepal this weekend, killing more than 1,400 people and leveling buildings and centuries old temples. Many hundreds of people remained trapped under mounds of rubble.

The hospitals in the capital of Katmandu were so crowded that many of the injured were being seen and treated outside in the open. The earthquake rocked a large part of northern India, Bangladesh, Tibet and Pakistan and triggered several avalanches in the Himalayas, killing almost 10 people on Mount Everest.


The earthquake destroyed many historical landmarks, including the Dharahara tower in central Kathmandu. Image: Parimal Satyal via Flickr CC.

Locals and tourists roamed the streets through mounds of debris in search of survivors. Residents huddled in the cold rain overnight for safety and dozens of bodies were pulled form the nine-story Dharahara tower that came crashing down during the quake.

An estimated 4.6 million people in the region were exposed to tremors from the Nepal earthquake. The quake struck Saturday at 11:56 am local time and occurred at a depth of 9.3 miles, which is considered shallow and more damaging than a deeper quake.

The earthquake destroyed many historical landmarks, including the UNESCO World Heritage temples at Basantapur Durbar Square and the Dharahara tower both in central Kathmandu. Emergency workers and army and police personnel, with the help of residents and bystanders, continued to work tirelessly early Saturday afternoon to clear the rubble from these sites and to rescue any survivors from under the debris, although bodies were mostly being pulled out.

Sanjay Karki, country director of Mercy Corps in Nepal said the ground was still shaking and there were predictions that anther strong quake could come. “The hospital has been over flooded with causalities,” Karki said. “People are just emptying their houses and you know, coming to open spaces, with blankets, with the children and all.”

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