KATHMANDU, April 25 (Xinhua) — More than 900 people, including 256 in the capital of Kathmandu, have been killed in a 7.8- magnitude earthquake, which jolted large parts of Nepal as well as eastern India and Bangladesh on Saturday.
Around 180 bodies were pulled from the ruins of Dharhara tower in the center of Kathmandu when the devastating quake, the worst in the country since 1930s, struck at 11:45 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) with its epicenter 34 km southeast of Lamjung at a depth of 15 km.
The nine-story tower in the historic Basantapur Durbar Square completely collapsed, which had reportedly left around 200 people trapped in the rubbles.
Hundreds of injured people had been brought to hospitals and panicked residents gathered in Tudikhel, a large grass-covered ground in downtown Kathmandu, after rushing to the streets.
As rescue operations were underway by the Nepal Army, Police and Armed Police Force, myrepublica.com news portal quoted the Home Affairs Ministry as saying that the death toll had reached 876.
An emergency cabinet meeting had announced 29 districts in the country as crisis zones, according to the ministry.
Meanwhile, an official from the Ministry of Tourism said 10 people, including foreign climbers, had been reportedly killed in an avalanche triggered by the quake.
Four Chinese nationals, including two workers with a Chinese company, a mountain climber and a tourist, were killed and five others seriously injured in the quake, the Chinese Embassy confirmed.
People were advised to stay outdoors and keep calm as more aftershocks were feared. A 6.6-magnitude aftershock struck about an hour later after the initial tremor.
The Tribhuwan International airport in Kathmandu was shut down for hours following the quake with flights canceled or delayed.
An 8.1-magnitude quake killed more than 10,000 people in Nepal and eastern India in 1934.
The powerful quake, which was followed by at least 14 aftershocks, also jolted parts of India, and was felt in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
At least 34 people had been killed, including 23 deaths in India’s eastern state of Bihar and an unknown number of casualties reported in other states, mainly in northern and eastern India, the Indian Home Ministry said.
Two Indian military aircraft, a C-130 Hercules and a C17 Globemaster, took off from the Hindon air base in Delhi to Kathmandu with relief workers, medicines and blankets.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called his Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koirala, promising to ferry medical units to help Nepal.
The major tremor also killed two people and injured over 100 in Bangladesh.
Police and hospital sources said more than 100 people were wounded while hurriedly fleeing their buildings.
People working in multi-story buildings were scared and attempted to come out as the earthquake lasted for more than one minute.
Pakistan said on Saturday it would send relief goods to Nepal for the earthquake-hit people.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered the National Disaster Management Authority to deliver relief goods, including medicines, tents and blankets, as well as doctors and nurses to Kathmandu, the PM’s office said.
Editor: Mu Xuequan