(CNN) – A massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake has struck Nepal less than 50 miles from the capital, Kathmandu, the U.S. Geological Survey said Saturday. Witnesses said people were killed and injured, and historic buildings in Kathmandu had been brought down.
CNN’s Manesh Shrestha, who was himself injured, said he saw five bodies at a hospital. People with severe injuries were being treated outside, with doctors administering CPR on at least one person, Shrestha said.
“It’s quite chaotic,” he said.
Avalanches were reported on Mount Everest.
The quake occurred at a depth of less than two miles, which is considered shallow, and potentially more damaging than quakes emanating from deeper down.
The USGS previously rated the temblor at 7.5 magnitude but later upgraded the strength. The USGS reported aftershocks at strengths of 6.6 and 5.1.
The shaking was felt by people who contacted the USGS as “severe” to “violent,” nearly the highest rating on the intensity scale. Tremors were felt as far as New Delhi, more than 200 miles away in neighboring India. An official said it was felt there at magnitude 5.0.
The shaking was rated as “strong” to “severe” on the USGS ShakeMap. CNN sister network CNN-IBN is reporting that buildings are down and roads are out.
IBN reporter K. Dhiksit looked out his window in Kathmandu and saw the walls of many buildings down. As he watched, an aftershock rattled his street. He said he heard “big booming sounds,” as well. People ran out into the streets, he said.
Kanak Masni, a journalist in Kathmandu, told CNN by telephone that this appeared to be “the most massive earthquake to hit central Nepal since 1934.”
We are in the process of finding more information and are working to reach out to those affected, both at home & in Nepal.