Second major earthquake hits Nepal - at least 42 people dead
- Credit: AP
At least 42 people have been killed and more than 1,000 injured in the latest earthquake to hit Nepal, the Home Ministry said.
The quake hit a remote mountainous region, triggering landslides and toppling buildings less than three weeks after the country was ravaged by its worst quake in decades.
Rescue helicopters were immediately sent to districts north east of Kathmandu after the magnitude 7.3 quake.
The Health Ministry said rescuers had managed to pull three people to safety in the capital, while another nine were rescued in the district of Dolkha.
Several buildings collapsed in Sindhulpalchowk's town of Chautara, according to Paul Dillon, a spokesman with the International Organisation for Migration. A rescue team is searching through the wreckage of the town, he said.
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The quake caused landslides around Chautara, and more than 100 people were injured in surrounding villages, chief district officer Krishna Gyawali said.
Chautara has become a hub for humanitarian aid after the 7.8-magnitude quake on April 25 that killed more than 8,150 people and injured over 17,860 as it flattened mountain villages and destroyed buildings. It was Nepal's worst recorded earthquake since 1934.
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The new quake was deeper, coming from a depth of 11.5 miles, compared with the earlier one at 9.3 miles. Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage.
The latest tremor quake was followed by at least six strong aftershocks, according to the US Geological Survey.
The international airport in Kathmandu, which has become a transport hub for international aid, was closed temporarily, while traffic snarled in the streets of Kathmandu.
Early reports indicated at least two buildings had collapsed in the capital, although at least one had been unoccupied due to damage sustained during the April 25 quake.
'The shaking seemed to go on and on,' said Rose Foley, a Unicef official in Kathmandu. 'It felt like being on a boat in rough seas.'
Aid agencies are struggling to get reports from outside of the capital.
'We're thinking about children across the country, and who are already suffering. This could make them even more vulnerable,' Ms Foley said.
Residents of the small town of Namche Bazaar, about 35 miles from the epicentre and a well-known spot for high-altitude trekkers, said a couple of buildings damaged in the earlier earthquake collapsed after the new tremor.
Meanwhile, new landslides blocked mountain roads in the district of Gorkha, one of the most damaged regions after the April 25 quake.
'People are terribly scared. Everyone ran out in the streets because they are afraid of being inside the houses,' Norwegian Red Cross secretary-general Asne Havnelid told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
The Nepalese have been terrified by dozens of aftershocks that followed the April 25 quake. The impoverished country has appealed for billions of pounds in aid from foreign nations, as well as medical experts to treat the wounded and helicopters to ferry food and temporary shelters to hundreds of thousands left homeless amid unseasonal rains.
Across the Nepalese border in Tibet's Jilong and Zhangmu regions, the earth shook strongly. Tremors were also felt slightly in the capital, Lhasa.
'Rocks fell from the mountains,' Jilong county government vice chief Wang Wenxiang was quoted as saying by China News Service. 'There might be some houses collapsed or damaged. We are now checking on the condition of the people.'