KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — An earthquake in the mountains of west Nepal rocked the Himalayan nation in early Wednesday, killing at least six people while they were asleep in their houses, a government administrator said.
The earthquake was felt as far away as the the Indian capital New Delhi, some 400 kilometers (250 miles) west of the epicenter.
Kalpana Shrestha, the chief officer of Doti district, said six people were killed when they were crushed in their houses in a remote, sparsely populated mountain village. Five more were injured.
The earthquake around 2:12 a.m. local time sent people in the mountain villages panicking out of their houses and many spent the entire night out in the open, Shrestha said.
She said security forces have been dispatched to the remote villages to help with the rescue effort. There were reports of houses damaged in many villages but no new reports of casualties.
Videos posted on social media showed villagers moving debris by hand to find the victims buried by the earthquake-damaged houses, shining mobile phone lights to move the piles of wood and stones that most of the mountain villages to build houses.
Most of the mountain villages are reached on foot and there are no roads to drive heavy equipment to help with the rescue.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba said in a statement he has ordered government officials to provide immediate help to the victims and their families and provide all necessary medical assistance to those wounded.
Nepal’s National Earthquake Monitoring and Research Center gave a preliminary magnitude of 6.6. The U.S. Geological Survey provided measurements of a 5.7 magnitude with a depth of 18.1 kilometers (11.2 miles) and its epicenter 20 km (12 miles) east of Dipayal.
Earthquakes are common in mountainous Nepal, which is home to the tallest mountain. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2015 killed some 9,000 people and damaged around 1 million structures.