Nepal earthquake latest: Thousands spend night outdoors; death toll rises

File picture: A Nepalese resident removes rubble from her home following an earthquake in Bungamati on the outskirts of Kathmandu last month. (AFP)

LATEST: Thousands of fear-stricken people spent the night outdoors after a new earthquake killed dozens of people and spread more misery in Nepal, which is still reeling from a devastating quake that killed more than 8,000 nearly three weeks ago.

A US Marine Corps helicopter carrying six Marines and two Nepalese soldiers was reported missing while delivering disaster aid in northeastern Nepal, US officials said, although there have been no indications the aircraft crashed.

Home ministry official Laxmi Dhakal said Wednesday that army helicopters were scouring the Sunkhani area, nearly 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Kathmandu, for the missing helicopter.

Tuesday's magnitude-7.3 quake, centered between Kathmandu and Mount Everest, struck hardest in the foothills of the Himalayas and triggered landslides that blocked roads to remote villages in several districts. Most of the 65 people confirmed dead by Wednesday morning were in Dolakha district, located northeast of Kathmandu, the district's chief administrator Prem Lal Lamichane said.

"People are terrorized. Everyone is scared here. They spent the night out in the open," Lamichane said, adding the administration was running out of relief material.

He asked the government to send more helicopters and supplies, and said there were many injured people stranded in villages.

Tuesday's quake also left nearly 2,000 injured, according to the Home Ministry's latest count. But that toll was expected to rise as reports trickled in of people in isolated Himalayan towns and villages being buried under rubble, according to the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Tremors radiated across parts of Asia. In neighboring India, at least 16 people were confirmed dead after rooftops or walls collapsed onto them, according to India's Home Ministry. Chinese media reported one death in Tibet.

Kathmandu airport that was closed following the massive earthquake on Tuesday noon has reopened, according to local media

Earlier stories: Atleast four dead

At least four are feared killed in Nepal, reported AP.

A strong earthquake shook Nepal on Tuesday, sending people in the capital Kathmandu rushing out on to the streets weeks after a devastating quake killed more than 8,000 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes, eyewitnesses said.

The US Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.4 and struck 68 km west of the town of Namche Bazar, close to Mount Everest.

"This is a really big one," said Prakash Shilpakar, the owner of a handicrafts shop in Kathmandu who was trying to call his parents in the town of Bhaktapur, devastated in the April 25 quake.

Shockwaves were felt across North India, including the capital New Delhi, where buildings swayed for more than a minute and people scurried into the streets.

People in Kathmandu rushed outdoors, Reuters reporters said. There were no immediate reports of damage to buildings. Shopkeepers closed their shops.

The quake's epicentre was close to Everest Base Camp, which was evacuated after an avalanche triggered by the April 25 quake killed 18 climbers. Mountaineers seeking to scale the world's tallest peak have called off this year's Everest season.  

Kathmandu was devastated just weeks ago by a devastating earthquake, which killed over 7,000 people.

No reports of damages or casualties are known yet.

However, people rushed out of their homes and offices in Patna and Gurgaon near Delhi in India and shops are closed in Nepal, according to local media reports. 

Delhi’s Metro services were brought to a halt today around 10am, shortly after the 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal.

Services resumed some eight minutes later, with restricted speed according to an update by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation or DMRC.

Kolkata’s metro services were also halted at the same time and they resumed by 12noon UAE time following a one hour stoppage by authorities to conduct a safety check of lines following the earthquake.

By 1pm UAE time, six aftershocks had been been reported by US Geological Survey, following today’s big one in Nepal. The biggest of the aftershocks measured 6.3 in magnitude, located 33km NNE of Ramechhap, Nepal.

Nepal Police Headquarters has posted an emergency update on its social media accounts, asking people to take precautionary measures and to refrain from overloading the phone network. 

The authority tweeted: “Please stay in open field, help us free [up the] road.” 

It further suggested people send out SMS messages instead of calling up to alert family and friends.

In addition, Kathmandu Airport has been shut down following today's earthquake as a precautionary measure.

"The airport is closed for operations right now," Birendra Prasad Shrestha, manager at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport, told AFP.

Print Email