By Our Sudurpashchim Bureau,Dhangadhi, Jan. 25: An earthquake measuring 5.9 in the Richter scale rocked western Nepal on Tuesday.
The tremor, which had its epicentre near Bichhya, Himali Rural Municipality, Bajura, occurred at 2.43 pm in the afternoon, according to Tirtha Dahal, information officer at the National Earthquake Monitoring and Research Centre’s Surkhet office.
In Bajura, the quake killed one woman, as of 6 pm on Tuesday.
According to the District Police Office (DPO) of Bajura, 35-year-old Jamuna Rokaya of Gaumul Rural Municipality–2 died when a rock
fell on her while she was fetching grass from a forest near her village.
The rock was propelled when the ground shook.
Similarly, the police informed that the seism completely damaged four houses in Badimalika Municipality.
DPO head Surya Bahadur Thapa further said that the quake damaged scores of houses and physical structures across the district.
Gaumul Chairman Hari Bahadur Rokaya said that the earthquake also triggered a landslide which killed sheep and cattle and injured some herders.
In neighbouring Bajhang, the earthquake damaged hundreds of buildings including government offices, police stations and the old building of the District Hospital in the district headquarters Chainpur.
Meanwhile, Hari Krishna Joshi of Jayaprithvi Municipality–11 sustained some injuries when he fell off his chair.
Further details are yet to arrive.
The shock the people are in and the loss of telephone connection have made collection of information difficult. People have left their homes for open grounds and many worry that the main shock will now be followed by aftershocks.
The earthquake was felt in Baitadi, Bajhang, Achham, Dadeldhura and Kailali. As per Indian media reports, this earthquake also shook the ground in New Delhi, the capital of India.
Far-west quakes, but no one’s paying attention
Tuesday’s quake was the second one to strike Sudurpashchim Province in less than three months. According to our Baitadi correspondent, an earthquake, with its epicentre inside the Khaptad National Park, struck the province on November 9, 2022 at 2.12 am and killed six in Purbichauki Rural Municipality, Doti.
Remash Bhandari, a member of the Red Cross in Baitadi, complained that although geologists have warned that Baitadi and Darchula are at high risk of earthquakes, authorities have done little to prepare.
Engineer Jai Singh Bohra of Dasharathchand Municipality worried that over a thousand houses in Gothalapani, one of the main markets in the district headquarters of Baitadi, could collapse in the event of an earthquake. “People here will not even find a place to escape,” he said. “Although the municipality asks its denizens to get their blueprints approved, no one does that. As a result, the buildings here are not safe.”
First responders like the police are themselves forced to inhabit unsafe rented buildings. Deputy Superintendent of Police Prem Bahadur Shahi, chief of the District Police Office of Baitadi, said that 22 stations operated out of dilapidated buildings.