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Powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake hits Nepal

by Staff Reporter
25 Apr 2015 at 08:14hrs | Views
An earthquake measuring 7.9 magnitude has struck 80 km east of Pokhara in Nepal about half way between the town and the capital Kathmandu, the US Geological Survey says.

Nepal's Information Minister Minendra Rijal told India's NDTV station that there are reports of damage in and around Kathmandu but no immediate word on casualties.

He said rescue teams were responding. Reuters news agency cited witnesses as saying that survivors with broken limbs were rushed to hospitals.

Photos posted on Twitter showed buildings left in rubble, large cracks along roads and worried residents on the streets.

The epicentre was 80km northwest of Kathmandu, he said. The Kathmandu Valley is densely populated with nearly 2.5 million, with the quality of buildings often poor.

Al Jazeera's Subina Shresta, reporting from Kathmandu, confirmed the reports of damage to buildings there. Some ancient temples were also reportedly damaged.

The US Geological Survey said the quake hit at 11:56am local time (06:11 GMT). It initially reported a magnitude 7.7 before revising the calculation to 7.5 and later upgraded to 7.9.

The USGS initally reported the epicentre to be 11km deep but later revised it to 2km.

Tremors were felt in a number of India's northern cities, witnesses said. Al Jazeera's reporters in New Delhi said the tremors were also felt across the Indian capital.

Al Jazeera's Faiz Jamil said that the first tremor in New Delhi lasted for 20 seconds and a second one followed shortly later.

Al Jazeera's Maher Sattar in Dhaka, Bangladesh, also reported sustained tremors there.

Laxman Singh Rathore, director-general of the Indian Meteorological Department, said that the impact had been felt across large swathes of northern India.

"The intensity was felt in entire north India. More intense shocks were felt in eastern UP (Uttar Pradesh) and Bihar, equally strong in sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Sikkim," he said.

Rathore said that a second tremor of a 6.6 magnitude had been recorded around 20 minutes later and centred around the same region.

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Source - Al Jazeera