Nepal jolted again with 7.3-magnitude quake; 42 dead, over 1,000 injured

12 May 2015


A fresh 7.3-magnitude earthquake jolted Nepal today, killing at least 42 people and injuring over 1,000 people as buildings collapsed and the tremors triggered fresh landslides, less than three weeks after a devastating quake pummeled vast swathes of the Himalayan nation.

The 7.3-magnitude earthquake, centered 68 km west of the town of Namcheazaar, near Mount Everest, sending ripples to neigbouring Indian states of Bihar and West Bengal and were even felt as far as Delhi and Gujarat.

At least 17 people are reported to have died in India in the fresh quake, which lasted nearly a minute.

In capital Katmandu and neighbouring areas, most people are back again in the open, just as they were picking up the pieces after last month's 7.9-magnitude quake that killed about 8,000 people and uprooted millions.

Nepali authorities sent rescue helicopters to districts northeast of Kathmandu, where landslides and buildings collapsed in the quake may have left people buried.

Home ministry spokesman Laxmi Dhakal named Sindhupalchok and Dolkha districts as the worst hit.

The earthquake registered 7.4 on the Richter scale, occurred at 12.45 pm (local time), according to the US Geological Survey. The ground shook like a wave for at least 25 seconds. The USGS said the epicentre was 22 km south-east of Zham, China.

The USGS map shows the epicentre well within Nepal's border and it has now been confirmed it to have been Namchebazar, gateway to Everest Base Camp.

People are still grouped together in open spaces hours after the quake, which was followed by at least eight powerful aftershocks.

Shopkeepers closed their shops and the streets were jammed with people rushing to check on their families.

Nepal Police sent out tweets asking residents to clear the roads for movement of rescue workers while police also asked people not to clog the mobile network with calls and use text messages for sending information.

Operations at Kathmandu's Tribhuwan International Airport were suspended and Nepal's parliament, which was in session when the quake struck, was adjourned.

"Search and rescue teams have been sent to all affected districts. These are difficult times for Nepal, I appeal for all friends to help us and urge our citizens to stay strong," Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said.

In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the situation following the fresh  earthquake felt in Nepal and parts of India, at a high-level meeting.

Home minister Rajnath Singh also spoke to home secretary LC Goyal and India's ambassador to Nepal Ranjeet Ray and asked the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) to be on alert.

India will provide full support to Nepal wherever required, ANI quoted Singh as saying. Singh, accompanied by NSA and home secretary, also briefed PM Modi on the earthquake situation.

O P Singh, director general, NDRF, said that the force has been put on alert mode and is ready to provide all assistance wherever needed.

L S Rathore, director general, Indian Meteorological Deprtment, while addressing a press conference, warned that aftershocks will continue for weeks or may be months. The IMD chief said though shocks have been felt in almost entire India but the intensity was very high in areas adjoining Nepal.

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