7.9 magnitude earthquake hits Nepal, tremors felt in Pakistan, India

KATHMANDU (Nepal) — A powerful magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal’s capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said.

Dozens of people with injuries were being brought to the main hospital in central Kathmandu. One child, a girl, 15, has reportedly died as the quake brought down a house wall on her.

Tremors were also felt in parts of Pakistan and India. The epicentre was 50 miles (80km) north-west of Kathmandu, he said. The Kathmandu valley is densely populated with nearly 2.5 million people, with the quality of buildings often poor.

Several buildings collapsed in the centre of the capital, including centuries-old temples, said resident Prachanda Sual. He said he saw people running through the streets in panic. Ambulance sirens blared and government helicopters hovered overhead.

The US Geological Survey revised the magnitude from 7.5 to 7.9 and said the quake hit at 11:56 am local time (0611 GMT) at Lamjung a shallow depth of 11 kilometres.

Mohammad Shahab, a resident from Lahore, Pakistan, said he was sitting in his office when the earthquake rocked the city near the border with India.

He said the tremors continued for a while but now the situation was normal. The sustained quake also was felt in India’s capital of New Delhi. AP reporters in Indian cities of Lucknow in the north and Patna in the east also reported strong tremors.

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