Earthquake rocks west Nepal, felt as far as New Delhi

In this Nov. 12, 2015, file photo, Mt. Everest is seen from the way to Kalapatthar in Nepal. (AP Photo/Tashi Sherpa, File)

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — An earthquake centered in the mountains of west Nepal rocked the Himalayan nation in early Wednesday, killing at least six people while they were asleep in their houses, a government administrator said.

The earthquake was felt as far as the the Indian capital New Delhi, some 400 kilometers (250 miles) west of the epicenter.

Kalpana Shrestha, the chief officer of Doti district, said six people were killed when they were crushed in their houses in a remote, sparsely populated mountain village. Five more were injured.

The earthquake around 2:12 a.m. local time sent people in the mountain villages panicking out of their houses and many spent the entire night out in the open, Shrestha said.

She said security forces have been dispatched to the remote villages to help with the rescue effort. There were reports of houses damaged in many villages but no new reports of casualties.

Nepal’s National Earthquake Monitoring and Research Center provided preliminary measurements of a 6.6 magnitude. The U.S. Geological Survey gave preliminary ratings of a 5.6 magnitude with a depth of 15.7 kilometers (9.8 miles) and its epicenter 21 km (13 miles) east of Dipayal.

Earthquakes are common in mountainous Nepal, which is home to the tallest mountain. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2015 killed some 9,000 people and damaged around 1 million structures.