The Dharahara tower, one of Nepal’s most iconic landmarks in their capital city of Kathmandu, collapsed to rubble Saturday after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook the nation. Over 200 sightseers and 180 other people were left trapped inside the debris, according to police in Nepal.
The famed landmark has now become a burial ground for the hundreds of tourists.
Police say they have retrieved at least 180 bodies so far from the Dharahara Tower, and that more are still trapped under the rubble.
Dharahara tower is a nine-story building, first constructed in 1832, while Nepal was under control of the Shah dynasty. For the past decade, Dharahara tower has become a popular tourist destination. The tower has an observation deck on the eighth floor.
The Dharahara tower is located on a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the valley of Kathmandu. Kathmandu is a densely populated area and the quality of buildings is usually quite low. The tower had collapsed once before in 1934 as documented by the
Wall Street Journal, during a massive earthquake, it was rebuilt soon after. The earthquake in 1934 was even more powerful and killed around 16,000 people.
Multiple temples in Basantapur Durbar Square were also destroyed because of the earthquake. The temples are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A 6.6-magnitude aftershock hit close to an hour after the original quake and smaller aftershocks have continued throughout the region for hours. The epicenter of the quake is located 80 miles northwest of Kathmandu, in the city of Lamjung The earthquake was felt in their neighboring regions of Tibet, Bangladesh, and India.
In Bangladesh, four deaths have been reported. In Tibet, roads were deformed and buildings collapsed, leading to the death of at least 12. In India, officials have confirmed at least 36 deaths.
According to the United Nations, almost 5 million people have been impacted by Saturday’s earthquake, which makes it Nepal’s worst earthquake since 1934.
Kathmandu’s main hospital is overwhelmed by the mass amount of casualties and many residents are left homeless.
“The hospital has been overflooded with casualties,” Karki said. “People just emptying their houses and you know, coming to open spaces, with blankets, with the children and all.”
Eighteen climbers have been found dead on Mount Everest after an avalanche was caused by the tremor. Many more are trapped leading to a rising death toll from the avalanche.
Google executive Dan Fredinburg was climbing Mount Everest when the avalanche occurred and has been reported dead. Freninburg suffered a fatal head injury from the avalanche according to his family.
So far, the death toll is nearing 1,400 and is expecting to continue to rise with hundreds more injured.
[Image Source: Omar Havana/Getty Images]