A massive second quake of 6.6 magnitude has struck Nepal less than 50 miles from the capital, Kathmandu triggering avalanche at Mount Everest and causing widespread damage to historic buildings. Witnesses said scores of people were killed and injured. Media reports from Nepal say that historical tower Dharahara (similar to Delhi’s Qutb Minar) and Grand Bhimsen tower in Kathmandu have collapsed due to earthquake.
“It’s quite chaotic,” a witness, who is injured, said. Avalanches were reported on Mount Everest.
The quake occurred at a depth of less than two miles, which is considered shallow, and potentially more damaging than quakes emanating from deeper down.
The shaking was felt by people as “severe” to “violent,” nearly the highest rating on the intensity scale.
A reporter looked out his window in Kathmandu and saw the walls of many buildings down. As he watched, an aftershock rattled his street. He said he heard “big booming sounds,” as well. People ran out into the streets, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet, “We are in the process of finding more information and are working to reach out to those affected, both at home & in Nepal.”
A journalist in Kathmandu said that this appeared to be “the most massive earthquake to hit central Nepal since 1934.”
Government has placed its disaster response agencies on full alert: A few teams have been dispatched to parts of Bihar, said Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
In Kathmandu, many buildings have collapsed. The famous Dharahara tower in the city has collapsed and the police fear many might be trapped inside. Many have been injured and the police were working to get people to the hospital, the police spokesperson said. As it was the weekend, there were many visitors at the nine-storey structure.
There are reports of the deaths of a 15-year-old girl in India, near the Nepal border, and a child in Kathmandu.
Tremors were felt across eastern and northern parts of India, said J.L. Gautam, Head (Operations), Seismology, at the Indian Meteorological Department.
“Earthquake of magnitude 7.5 occurred today at 11.41 a.m. between latitude 28.1 North and Longitude 84.6 East. The epicentre was located in Nepal,” an IMD statement said.
The tremors, which were felt in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and several other parts and lasted for a minute, triggering panic and forcing people to rush out of their houses and offices.
Two persons were injured in the high intensity earthquake in different parts of Bihar, prompting Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to cut short his visit to New Delhi.
There were no immediate reports of loss of life or damage to property in Delhi.
Officials said Metro train services in Delhi were also affected due to the earthquake.