The landmark Dharahara Tower, in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, was reduced to rubble on Saturday when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated the nation.
Up to 180 people are believed to have died when the tower collapsed and an estimated 200 remain trapped in the devastated building in Basantapur Durbar Square.
Many had taken advantage of a holiday in the country to buy tickets for the viewing gallery at the top of the 62m tall structure. Just its base now remains.
The nine-storey tower was built in 1832 and is located in the Kathmandu Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a densely populated area where the quality of buildings is often poor. The landmark had previously been leveled during a massive 1934 earthquake, and then rebuilt.
Locals took to social media to express their horror: “Dharara, 62m, fell towards the southwest. It was Saturday holiday & up to 200 had taken tickets to climb for a view.” (@KanakManiDixit)
@SweetsandyInsan tweeted: “Nepal landmark 200 years old, Dharahara Tower collapsed from earthquake Pray for Nepal.”
Nepal police said at least 1,865 people have been killed following the tremor and the death toll is expected to rise. An emergency government meeting designated 29 districts as crisis zones.
Hospitals in Katmandu were so crowded that many of the injured were treated outside in the open. The quake, which shook a wide swath of northern India, Bangladesh, Tibet and Pakistan, also triggered avalanches in the Himalayas, killing at least 10 people on Mount Everest.
Tens of thousands of people in Kathmandu, fearful of aftershocks bringing down more buildings, gathered outside during the night.
“My entire neighborhood is still in shock,” said Chiranjibi Gurung, a local resident. “My children who were inside the houses at the time of the earthquake are scared to go inside now.”