A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck central Nepal overnight has devastated populated areas across the Himayalan region, causing buildings to crumble and killing hundreds, if not thousands, of people on Saturday.
A spokesperson for Nepal’s Home Ministry, Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, told the New York Times early on Saturday morning that the preliminary death toll stood at 686, nearly all in the valley around Katmandu, and that thousands more had been injured.
According to the Guardian, which is offering live updates on the situation, the number of people across four countries who have died is well above 1,000 and this number is expected to rise. In addition to the highest numbers in Nepal, several deaths and injuries related to the quake were reported in Tibet, India, and further to the east in Bangladesh.
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The initial quake, originally calculated by the USGS as 7.8 on the Richter scale but subsequently adjusted to 7.9, occurred just after midnight (GMT) with the epicenter near the city of Lamjung, not far from the capital of Katamandu, where heavy damage and a high number of casualties is being reported. A large aftershock, approximately 30 minutes later, came in at 6.6 magnitude.
The tremors also unleashed a severe avalanche on Mt. Everest, among world’s tallest and most famous mountains, which claimed additional lives.
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The Associated Press provided this early raw footage from impacted areas:
Regarding the avalancy on Mt. Everest, AP reports:
And on Twitter:
Tweets about everest avalanche
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