A powerful earthquake struck Nepal at around midday Saturday, toppling historic buildings and sending avalanches down the world’s tallest mountains. Hundreds of people were reported dead.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake measured 7.8 on the Richter scale. The initial quake, which occurred less than nine miles below the earth’s surface about 50 miles from Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, was followed by an aftershock 30 minutes later that registered 6.6. Aftershocks ranging between 4.2 and 5.2 continued for hours.
Reports from Kathmandu said the city’s historic center had been flattened. The BBC reported that more than 1,000 people are known to have died and that thousands more had been injured. The Associated Press reported that tens of thousands of people were preparing to spend the night outdoors for fear of further tremors.
Reports from Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, said that eight climbers had been killed in an avalanche triggered by the quake, which was the strongest to hit Nepal in nearly eight decades.