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Strong Earthquake in Northwestern Nepal Claims 128 Lives and Injures Dozens

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Nepalese authorities are on a mission to save lives following a powerful earthquake that struck districts in northwestern Nepal. The seismic event occurred just before midnight Friday, claiming at least 128 lives and causing injuries to many more.

The death toll is expected to climb as communication remains disrupted in several areas, hindering rescue operations, officials reported on Saturday.

The primary focus is on rescuing survivors and transporting them to medical facilities while also recovering bodies of the deceased, according to regional police chief Bhim Dhakal.

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Efforts to clear roads and trails blocked by landslides set off by the earthquake are underway, with troops mobilized for relief operations. Helicopters are delivering medical aid to hospitals, and ground security forces are engaged in extracting injured and deceased individuals from the rubble.

The regional hospital in Nepalgunj has made over 100 beds available, with medical teams on standby to assist the injured.

Bimal Kumar Karki, one of the first rescued from the disaster site, described the terrifying experience: “I was fast asleep when it started shaking violently. I tried to run, but the whole house collapsed. I tried escaping, but half my body got buried in the debris. I screamed, but all my neighbors were in the same situation and screaming for help. It took nearly half an hour to an hour before rescuers found me.”

Government and army planes with short-landing capabilities are transporting the wounded to Nepalgunj, alongside rescue helicopters.

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The United States Geological Survey recorded the earthquake as having a preliminary magnitude of 5.6, with its epicenter in Jajarkot, around 400 kilometers (250 miles) northeast of Kathmandu.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal led a team of doctors to the affected area. The district, where he had spearheaded an armed revolt, was among the worst-hit regions.

Security officials and villagers have been working tirelessly throughout the night to rescue individuals from collapsed houses. The quake also affected regions in neighboring districts, claiming numerous lives and injuring many.

This seismic event was felt as far as India’s capital, New Delhi, over 800 kilometers (500 miles) away. While earthquakes are a common occurrence in Nepal’s mountainous terrain, the country faced a devastating 7.8 magnitude quake in 2015, causing extensive damage and claiming thousands of lives.

India has offered its support for rescue efforts, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing condolences and pledging assistance to Nepal in this time of crisis.

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