Strong earthquake in Nepal leaves at least 157 people dead

Authorities in Nepal say a strong earthquake has hit the western part of the country and left at least 157 people dead.

The United States Geological Survey says the quake had an estimated magnitude of 5.6. It notes the temblor struck shortly before midnight on Friday, local time, at a depth of about 18 kilometers.

Nepalese authorities estimate that it had a magnitude of 6.4. They say the epicenter was in Jajarkot and the surrounding areas. Jajarkot is about 300 kilometers northwest of the capital, Kathmandu.

Local officials say they have confirmed at least 157 deaths. They also say that some people have been injured.

The quake hit a mountainous area where there are scores of brick houses. Many of the structures collapsed. Rescuers are trying to free people trapped under the rubble.

The strong earthquake was followed by a series of tremors, which had a magnitude of four or lower. The tremors occurred in areas around the epicenter.

Central Nepal was hit by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in 2015. The quake and subsequent tremors killed about 9,000 people.