Search and rescue operations in Nepal concluded on Sunday, with the attention now turning towards delivering essential relief to the survivors who need food and shelter. This transition occurred 36 hours after the earthquake struck.
The 5.6-magnitude earthquake that struck late Friday in the isolated western districts of the Himalayan country resulted in the tragic loss of at least 157 lives.
Numerous survivors had to endure a night exposed to the elements, as their mud houses were reduced to heaps of debris. In the hardest-hit Jajarkot district, particularly in the village of Nalgad, several individuals lost their lives.
Mahesh Chanare, a 34-year-old plumber who was preparing to cremate his father-in-law on Sunday, informed AFP that the rest of his family had fortunately remained unharmed. However, he expressed his concern about the dire situation, stating that the collapsed houses had taken everything with them, leaving them with scarcely any provisions. He also mentioned that no relief supplies had reached their location, emphasizing the urgent need for food and tents among the people in the area.
The officials stated that 105 individuals lost their lives in Jajarkot, and an additional 52 perished in the neighboring Rukum district. They also confirmed that over 100 people sustained injuries in the earthquake, and search and rescue operations had been completed.
Gopal Chandra Bhattarai, the provincial police spokesman said that they have maintained communication with all regions, and the rescue efforts have been concluded. He further stated that they are being vigilant because of the remote nature of the affected area, and there is a possibility of isolated locations where information may not have been received.
On Friday, residents urgently engaged in the task of excavating survivors from the debris of homes and structures that had crumbled in the darkness, while some sought refuge outside for safety. The earthquake’s impact was perceptible even in India’s capital, New Delhi, situated nearly 500 kilometers from the epicenter. Security forces were mobilized, utilizing both ground personnel and helicopters to aid in the search and rescue efforts.
Nepal is located along a significant geological fault line where the Indian tectonic plate converges with the Eurasian plate, resulting in the formation of the Himalayas. Consequently, earthquakes are a frequent and recurring natural phenomenon in the region.
In 2015, Nepal endured a devastating earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, resulting in the tragic loss of nearly 9,000 lives and causing injuries to over 22,000 individuals. This seismic event also led to the destruction of more than half a million homes.
Furthermore, in November of the previous year, a 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck the Doti district, near Jajarkot, resulting in the unfortunate demise of six individuals.
On Friday, the earthquake was followed by an aftershock several hours later in the same area, registering a magnitude of 4.0, according to the US Geological Survey.