The district hospital was packed with residents bringing in injured victims.

At least 36 were dead and 85 injured in neighbouring Rukum West, according to that area’s police chief, Namraj Bhattarai.

“We are working on rescue efforts,” he said.

Nepal lies on a major geological faultline where the Indian tectonic plate pushes up into the Eurasian plate, forming the Himalayas, and earthquakes are a regular occurrence.

The government deployed security forces to help with rescue efforts.

“We have information that there have been human and physical damages in two districts because of the quake, and security forces have been mobilised for rescue work,” said home ministry spokesman Nararyan Prasad Bhattarai.

Numbers were still unconfirmed, he added.

Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal expressed “his deep sorrow over the human and physical damage caused by the earthquake”.

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