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A huge number of people have been killed in a massive earthquake in Nepal.

The earthquake occurred at 23:47 local time on Friday, with a magnitude of 6.4, Nepal’s National Seismological Center said.  The German Research Center for Geosciences measured the earthquake at 5.7, relegating it from 6.2, while the U.S. Geological Survey placed it at 5.6. 

The earthquake is the worst since 2015 when about 9,000 people were killed in two earthquakes.  Entire cities, centuries-old temples and other historic sites were reduced to ruins at the time, with over a million homes destroyed, costing the economy 6 billion. 

Officials feared the death toll in Friday's quake could rise as they failed to establish contact in the hilly area near the epicentre, about 500 km west of the capital Kathmandu. 

Police spokesman Kuber Kadayat said 92 people were killed in Jajarkot and 36 in the neighbouring Rukum West district, both in Karnali province.  The epicentre was in Ramidanda village. 

At least 85 people were injured in Rukum West and 55 in Jajarkot, an official at the prime minister's office said, while Sharma said at least 50 people were in hospitals in Jajarkot alone. 

Search and rescue teams must clear roads blocked by the earthquake landslides to reach the affected areas, police officer Namaraj Bhattarai said. 

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal flew over the area Saturday morning with a 16-member army medical team to oversee search and rescue operations, his office said. 

 Earthquakes occur frequently in Nepal, a country located on a major geological failure at the intersection of the Indian tectonic plate with the Eurasian plate, forming the Himalayas chain.


Image credit: BBC


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