(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is praying for the victims of a major earthquake in Nepal and following the developments in the country with great concern and sharing in the suffering of those who were struck. The major earthquake, which measured 7.9 on the Richter Scale, shook Nepal just before noon on Saturday, causing major damage to the densely-populated Kathmandu Valley. Officials fear hundreds of people have died.
The quake’s epicenter was 80 km northwest of the country’s capital, Kathmandu. The quake toppled a 100-year -old temple, split roads, and razed houses and buildings.
Among the damages is the Dharahara Tower, a national monument, built by Nepal’s royal rulers in the 1800’s. Officials estimate that at least 50 people are trapped inside the collapsed structure.
The quake is reported to have caused avalanches in the Mount Everest region of the Himalayas and Tremors could be felt as far away in New Delhi in neighbouring India .
Vatican Radio spoke with Fr Pius Perumana, an aid worker from Caritas Nepal in Kathmandu, who said many of the houses in the tightly packed city have collapsed and survivors need emergency medical care and shelter.
“I managed to reach Kathmandu, though the roads were blocked…they are still searching for survivors. The reports are still coming in…The picture is not very clear,” he said.
This is Nepal’s second-worst earthquake since 1934, when an 8.0-magnitude quake destroyed three cities: Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan.
Listen to the report by Andrew Summerson:
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