9 Nov 2022

Six dead after powerful earthquake hits Nepal, rattles New Delhi

6:29 pm on 9 November 2022
At least six are dead after an earthquake struck Doti, Nepal.

The 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck in Nepal's western district of Doti. Photo: Google Maps

By Mrinmay Dey and Gopal Sharma

An earthquake of magnitude 6.6 struck Nepal early Wednesday (2am local time), killing at least six people, destroying multiple houses in the western district of Doti and shaking the Indian capital New Delhi, officials said.

Five other people were seriously injured as eight houses collapsed, said Bhola Bhatta, Doti's deputy superintendent of police, confirming an earlier figure shared by home ministry official Tulsi Rijal.

Local media showed visuals of mud and brick houses destroyed by the quake and rescuers digging through the rubble to look for survivors. At least two people were reported missing, Nepali army spokesman Narayan Silwal said.

Nepal was still rebuilding after two major earthquakes in 2015 killed almost 9000 people, destroyed whole towns and centuries-old temples and caused a $6 billion blow to the economy. Doti is about 430 kilometres west of the capital, Kathmandu.

Eyewitness Ram Upadhyay, chairman of the Purbi Chowki rural municipality in Doti district, said he was in a nearby village when the quake struck at 2.12am Nepal time.

"It shook terribly and I rushed out immediately. Now we are collecting details including the dead bodies."

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, writing on Twitter, offered condolences to the families of the victims.

"I have instructed the relevant agencies to arrange immediate and proper treatment of the injured and the victims."

A ground rescue team of the Nepali army has been rushed to the site, said spokesman Silwal, and two helicopters were on stand by in nearby Surkhet and Nepalgunj towns.

Kalpana Shrestha, a senior bureaucrat of Doti district, said details were being collected from villages near the epicentre and that one child was among those rescued from under the debris.

Nepal's seismological centre set the earthquake at a magnitude of 6.6. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) had pegged the earthquake at a magnitude of 5.6.

The quake was centred about 158km northeast of Pilibhit, a populous city in the neighbouring Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and occurred at a depth of 10km, EMSC added.

Media reports after the quake showed tremors were also felt in New Delhi and surrounding areas, some 350km from Doti.

- Reuters