Quake destroys buildings in Nepal, minister says hundreds dead

Nepalese government minister says hundreds have been killed in a powerful earthquake which hit the country and sent tremors through northern India.

KATHMANDU, NEPAL (APRIL 25, 2015) (REUTERS) – A powerful earthquake struck Nepal and sent tremors through northern India on Saturday (April 25), killing hundreds of people, toppling buildings in the capital Kathmandu and touching off a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest.

There were reports of devastation in outlying, isolated mountainous areas after the quake struck with a magnitude of 7.9, the worst in 81 years, with its epicentre 50 miles (80 km) east of Nepal’s second largest city, Pokhara.

“It is known to everybody that today (April 25) at 11.56 Nepal Standard time an earthquake took place with the epicenter at Gorkha and Lamjung, and thereafter various aftershocks at Rasuwa Sindhuli and Gorkha itself,” said Dr Minendra Rija, the government minister of information and communications.

A collapse in communications hampered relief efforts, raising fears of a humanitarian disaster across the impoverished Himalayan nation of 28 million people.

Rija said he had been told of 597 casualties.

A home ministry official told Reuters said the death toll had reached 758 in Nepal. A further 34 fatalities were reported in northern India and one in Bangladesh. The quake was shallow in depth, intensifying its destructive force.

A tourism official said at least eight people were killed when an avalanche unleashed by the earthquake swept through the Everest Base Camp for climbers of the world’s highest mountain.