Strong earthquake rocks Nepal, damages Kathmandu

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By BBC News

A powerful earthquake has rocked central Nepal, causing extensive damage to buildings and dozens of injuries, eyewitnesses say.

The quake measured 7.9 and struck an area between the capital Kathmandu and the city of Pokhara, the US Geological Survey said.

Tremors were felt across the region, as far afield as Pakistan, Bangladesh and neighbouring India.

A Nepali minister said there had been “massive damage” at the epicentre.

“We need support from the various international agencies which are more knowledgeable and equipped to handle the kind of emergency we face now,” Information Minister Minendra Rijal.

A map showing the location of an earthquake striking Nepal

Several buildings, including the landmark Dharahara tower, were reduced to rubble in Kathmandu.

Residents came out into the streets, with mobile phone networks and other communications disrupted.

Injured people have been brought to the main hospital.

There has been no estimate yet on the number of deaths, but Reuters news agency reported that two people had died, one in Nepal, one in northern India.

Indian authorities are responding. “We are in the process of finding more information and are working to reach out to those affected, both at home and in Nepal,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

A collapsed building in Patan Durban Square, Kathmandu
Some buildings collapsed in the Nepalese capital – this is the Patan Durban Square
In this photo released by China"s Xinhua News Agency, a collapsed building is seen in Nepal"s capital Kathmandu Saturday, April 25, 2015
Kathmandu is a warren of tightly-packed houses and narrow streets
An injured man receives treatment outside the Medicare Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015
Residents in Kathmandu have been injured in the earthquake
People stand on the runway outside the International Terminal after a earthquake hit, at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, Nepal, April 25, 2015,
This was the scene at Nepal’s international airport

Aftershocks could still be felt across the region sometime after the initial quake.

In 2011, a deadly earthquake killed at least five people in Nepal. Kathmandu was all but destroyed in the devastating earthquake of 1934.