Another Deadly Quake Hits Nepal

By Altaf Ahmad
150512-NP-quake-620 A rescue team searches for survivors at a collapsed building in Kathmandu after a 7.3-magnitude earthquake, May 12, 2015.

A powerful earthquake jolted Nepal on Tuesday, killing scores, injuring hundreds and disrupting relief operations in response to a stronger temblor 17 days ago that left at least 8,000 dead.

Tuesday’s 7.3-magnitude quake brought down buildings weakened by the previous one and killed at least 66 people, including 17 in neighboring India, Reuters reported.

The quake injured more than 1,100 people in Nepal alone, according to Agence France-Presse, which cited Nepalese authorities.

“We were frightened and worried, and rushed out of our building knowing that the doomsday has appeared,” Nischal Pokharel, a chemist in Kathmandu, told BenarNews by phone.

“People were crying and shouting. Nobody was sure what would be the next – life or death.”

American helicopter disappears

Meanwhile, a U.S. Marine helicopter with six Marines and two Nepalese service members on board went missing Tuesday near Charikot, Nepal, northeast of Kathmandu.

The UH-1Y Huey helicopter was “delivering humanitarian aid to people affected by a recent earthquake and was evacuating casualties back to Kathmandu,” said a statement posted on the U.S. Department of Defense website.

An aerial search would resume at daybreak, it said.

Panic ensues

The latest quake struck at 12:35 p.m. local time and could be felt as a far away as New Delhi.

The strong tremors lasted more than a minute and sent panicked people fleeing into the streets.

The quake caused the immediate shutdown of Kathmandu airport and disrupted metro services in Delhi.

Its epicenter was 76 km (47 miles) east-northeast of Kathmandu and close to the Chinese border, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which also recorded a 6.3-magnitude aftershock 31 minutes later.

On the Indian side of the border, 17 people were killed in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the Hindustan Times reported.

Nepalese have been on edge since a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck on April 25. That temblor killed at least 8,000 people, injured more than 17,860 and destroyed close to 290,000 homes, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Since then, the country has borne more than 100 aftershocks.

“In Kathmandu, we are still feeling shocks and widespread rumors are creating a sense of insecurity among people. They are scared to go inside their houses and will again sleep in the open during the night due to uncertainty prevailing across Nepal,” Pokharel added.

Some feared that the death toll from the latest quake could rise.

“People are really afraid of going inside homes as today’s quake lasted more than the earlier one and people don’t know how to cope with the nervousness,” said Rajesh Mishra, who was staying at the Everest Hotel in the heart of Kathmandu.

“They are very apprehensive [that] it may strike again any time in the day or while [they are] sleeping in the night,” he added.


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