Shallow M5.6 earthquake hits western Nepal, killing more than 120 people

nepal m5.6 earthquake november 3 2023 location map

A shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M5.6 hit western Nepal at 18:02 UTC (23:47 local time) on Friday, November 3, 2023. The agency is reporting a depth of 17.9 km (11 miles). GSRAS is reporting M5.6 at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles).

The epicenter was located 43 km (26.7 miles) S of Jumla (9 073), 47.5 km (29.5 miles) E of Dailekh (population 20 908), 65.1 km (40.4 miles) ENE of Birendranagar (population 31 381), and 109 km (67.7 miles) NNE of Nepalgunj (population 166 258).

8 000 people are estimated to have felt very strong shaking, 152 000 strong, 644 000 moderate and 29 591 000 light.

The USGS issued a Yellow alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. Some casualties and damage are possible and the impact should be relatively localized. Past yellow alerts have required a local or regional-level response.

Estimated economic losses are less than 1% of GDP of Nepal.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are adobe block and unreinforced brick with mud construction.

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses.

nepal m5.6 earthquake november 3 2023 location map close
Image credit: TW/SAM, Google

On Saturday, November 4, officials said many houses near the epicenter collapsed.

Police spokesman Kuber Kadayat said 92 people were killed in Jajarkot and 36 in neighboring Rukum West district, both in Karnali province.

At least 85 people were injured in Rukum West and 55 in Jajarkot, an official in the prime minister’s office said, while Sharma said at least 50 people were in hospitals in Jajarkot alone.

“The number of injured could be in the hundreds and the deaths could go up as well,” Jajarkot district official Harish Chandra Sharma told Reuters by phone.

This is the deadliest earthquake to hit Nepal since 2015 when about 9 000 people were killed.

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Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

nepal m5.6 earthquake november 3 2023 location map close
nepal m5.6 earthquake november 3 2023 usgs sce

Selected cities exposed

nepal m5.6 earthquake november 3 2023 usgs epet

Regional seismicity

nepal m5.6 earthquake november 3 2023 emsc regional seismicity

Featured image credit: TW/SAM, Google


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