May 2015 – NEPAL – A major 7.3 magnitude earthquake has hit Nepal tonight, less than three weeks after a devastating quake left thousands dead and buildings ruined. The quake was originally designated as a 7.4 event, but it was later downgraded to a 7.3 magnitude quake by the USGS. Several buildings collapsed in the isolated town of Chautara, with at least four people killed, according to Paul Dillon, a spokesman with the International Organization for Migration. A rescue team from the agency has begun searching through the wreckage of the little town, he said. Chautara has become a hub for humanitarian aid in the wake of a major April 25 quake that killed more than 8,150 people and injured more than 17,860 as it flattened mountain villages and destroyed buildings. Tuesday’s quake was deeper, however, coming from a depth of 18.5 kilometers (11.5 miles) versus the April 25th quake that hit 15 kilometers (9.3 miles).
More shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage at the surface. It was followed closely by at least five aftershocks measuring from magnitude 5.6 to magnitude 6.3. 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. “The shaking seemed to go on and on,” said Rose Foley, a UNICEF official based in Kathmandu. “It felt like being on a boat in rough seas.”
Aid agencies were still struggling Tuesday afternoon 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. In the capital of Kathmandu, the quake sent people rushing outside of their homes. The tremors in Kathmandu lasted close to a minute according to an AFP correspondent in the city, with the ground swaying. Sirens could be heard soon afterwards and people were seen running screaming onto the streets of Kathmandu and nearby cities, while telephone connections were down.
“Looks like Nepal will be destroyed completely this time,” one resident shouted, while others were putting up tents in open spaces that they had only recently taken down. At the Norvic Hospital in Kathmandu, patients and doctors rushed to the parking lot. “I thought I was going to die this time,” said Sulav Singh, who rushed with his daughter into the street in the suburban neighborhood of Thapathali. “Things were just getting back to normal, and we get this one.” Police gave no immediate estimates of damage. Indian Embassy spokesman Abhay Kumar said some buildings in Kathmandu collapsed, but he gave no further details about how many or where they were. Experts say the April 25 quake caused extensive structural damage even in buildings that did not topple, and that many could be in danger of future collapse. –NZ Herald
Rising Death Toll: The earthquake has killed at least 66 people so far, including 17 in neighboring India and one in Tibet. It spread panic in Nepal, bringing down buildings already weakened by a devastating tremor less than three weeks ago and unleashing landslides in Himalayan valleys near Mount Everest. Most of the reported fatalities were in villages and towns east of capital Kathmandu that were only just beginning to pick up the pieces after the April 25th quake that left more than 8,000 people dead. –IT