Historic buildings in Kathmandu lay in rubble on the ground. The injured were being treated outside hospitals in chaotic scenes. Residents, terrorized by a seemingly endless series of aftershocks, huddled outdoors.
The death toll was reported by Lakshmi Prasad Dhakal, a spokesman for Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs. But given that the rescue effort is still in its early stages and that people in outlying areas may well have been affected, as well, it seems probable that the number will rise.
And Kathmandu, which sits in a valley surrounded by the Himalayas, has a population of 1 million people. Some people who experienced the quake spoke by telephone with CNN, describing scenes of chaos, fear and suffering.
The quake, which struck at 11:41 local time (05:51 GMT). occurred at a depth of 9.3 miles, which is considered shallow and more damaging than a quake centered deeper under the earth’s crust. It was reported by people in the area as having lasted a very long time. On person said he felt as if he were on a ship in rough seas.
The U.S. Geological Survey had at first rated the temblor at 7.5 magnitude but later upgraded the strength. It reported aftershocks of 6.6 and 5.1 magnitude, among many others others. In all, the USGS said, at least 15 aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or greater had been felt in Nepal so far.
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