The Nepalese Army has been mobilized in the affected areas to carry out the search and rescue operations, officials said
Kathmandu: A powerful 6.6 magnitude earthquake in the remote mountains of western Nepal shook the Himalayan nation in the early hours of Wednesday, killing at least six people including two minors, damaging buildings and sparking panic among residents.
According to the National Seismological Center, the earthquake struck at 2:12 a.m. with its epicenter in Khaptad National Park in Doti District.
Six people were killed in the earthquake, Interior Ministry spokesman Phanindra Pokharel said.
Five seriously injured people were taken to the district hospital in Doti, Pokharel told PTI over the phone. A police post and eight houses collapsed due to the earthquake.
According to Nepalese Army spokesman Narayan Silwal, three people were missing who are believed to have been trapped in the collapse of houses in Purvichauki. The Nepalese army has started searching for the missing, he said.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Bhola Bhatta, acting chief of the Doti District Police Office, said all of the victims were killed by the rubble of houses damaged during the earthquake.
The earthquake has driven people in the mountain villages in panic from their homes and many have spent the whole night outdoors, officials said.
The identities of the deceased have been established, of whom two are women, two men and two minors, Deputy Superintendent of Police Bhola Kumar Bhatta was quoted as saying by the Himalayan Times newspaper.
Nearly 10 homes collapsed in the quake, and most homes have cracked after the geological event, police added.
The Nepal Army and Police were mobilized to carry out rescue operations.
Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba was also campaigning in western Nepal when the earthquakes hit the region. He took part in election rallies and met with people in Dhangadhi district, 160 km south of the epicenter.
The tremors were also felt in Dhangadhi, although the prime minister is safe, according to Pokharel.
Regarding the prime minister’s election campaign in western Nepal, adjustments will be made in light of the incident, he added.
The tremors were also felt in the neighboring districts of Dhangadhi and Kailali. The earthquake, which was easily felt in Kathmandu and parts of India, also damaged dozens of other homes in the district.
According to the Seismological Center, an earthquake of magnitude 5.7 was recorded on Tuesday at 9:07 p.m. and another earthquake of magnitude 4.1 at 9:56 p.m. in the same epicenter.
Earthquakes are common in mountainous Nepal.
On October 19, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck the Nepalese capital Kathmandu and surrounding areas, forcing many people to flee their homes to seek safety.
The earthquake was felt in the Kathmandu valley and adjacent districts. There were no reports of damage or casualties.
In April 2015, a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, killing nearly 9,000 people and injuring nearly 22,000 others. It also damaged over 800,000 homes and school buildings.