Tragedy Strikes Nepal: 132 Lives Lost in Devastating Earthquake
A massive earthquake in a remote region of Nepal has claimed at least 132 lives and left dozens injured. The 6.4 magnitude earthquake, which struck on Friday night, sent tremors as far as New Delhi, located nearly 550 kilometers from the epicenter.
The town of Jajarkot bore the brunt of the disaster, with several houses flattened or severely damaged. Videos and images from the scene showed the heartbreaking aftermath, with once multi-storied brick houses reduced to rubble, and scattered pieces of furniture.
In a race against time and amidst darkness, local residents courageously joined rescue efforts, digging through the rubble to pull survivors from the wreckage of collapsed homes and buildings.
Santosh Rokka, a police official, described the chaos: “Houses have collapsed. People rushed out of their homes. I am out in the crowd of terrified residents. We are trying to find details of damages.”
Rescue operations are ongoing, but officials face considerable challenges in establishing contact with the remote areas of Jajarkot, a hilly district with a population of 190,000 and scattered villages.
Gopal Chandra Bhattarai, a spokesperson for Karnali Province police, explained, “The remoteness of the districts makes it difficult for information to get through. Some roads had been blocked by damage, but we are trying to reach the area through alternate routes.”
The Nepalese government has deployed the army to assist with the search and rescue operations, while all helicopter operators in Nepal have been placed on standby. Regular flight movements have been temporarily suspended to facilitate the airlifting of the injured from the affected areas.
Nepal’s Prime Minister, Pushpa Kamal, expressed his deep sorrow over the human and physical damage caused by the earthquake, offering condolences to the affected families and communities.
This earthquake serves as a stark reminder of Nepal’s vulnerability to seismic activity, as it is located in a geologically active region where the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates collide, giving rise to the Himalayan mountain range and making earthquakes a frequent occurrence.
In 2015, Nepal suffered two devastating earthquakes that claimed the lives of approximately 9,000 people. Entire towns were reduced to rubble, centuries-old temples and historic sites were destroyed, and over a million houses were lost, resulting in an estimated economic cost of $6 billion.
As rescue efforts continue and the nation grapples with this latest tragedy, Nepal must once again come together, demonstrating resilience and unity in the face of adversity.