Fresh quake kills 42 in Nepal, 17 in India

Wednesday 13th May 2015 06:21 EDT

A powerful earthquake jolted mountainous Nepal on Tuesday, killing 42 people, bringing down buildings and triggering landslide less than three weeks after a devastating trembler left a swathe of destruction in the Himalayan nation. At least 17 people were killed in neighbouring India.

Hundreds of terrified people rushed out of their homes and buildings toppled as the 7.3-magnitude earthquake, centred 68 km west of the town of Namche Bazaar near Mount Everest, sent ripples in India all the way from the border states of Bihar and West Bengal to Gujarat and Delhi.

More than 1,000 people were injured as the quake flattened buildings in Kathmandu and other parts of Nepal already weakened by the 7.9-magnitude April 25 earthquake.

The fresh tremors, which lasted nearly a minute, came just as residents of Kathmandu and other districts were picking up the pieces after last month’s quake that killed more than 8,000 people and uprooted millions.

Rescue helicopters were sent to districts northeast of Kathmandu, where landslides and buildings, collapsed by Tuesday's quake, may have left people buried, the government said. Home ministry spokesman Laxmi Dhakal named Sindhupalchok and Dolkha districts as the hardest hit.

Many people were still seen grouped together on roads and open spaces more than three hours after the quake which was followed by at least eight powerful aftershocks.

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 also 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.

17 killed in India

At least 17 people were killed and a large number of houses collapsed in Bihar, a seismically active zone, after two powerful earthquakes rocked neighbouring Nepal on Tuesday afternoon.

Two strong tremors were felt in all parts of Bihar, especially its capital Patna, triggering panic among the people. First tremor felt at 12.36 pm while the second came at 13.09 pm.

Major damages and deaths were reported from districts namely Darbhanga, Patna, Sitamarhi, Purnia, Siwan and Katihar.

Two people died in and around the state capital, while one died in Digha locality, another in Anand Bazaar in Danapur area. Two deaths were reported from Darbhanga district, while one death each reported from Purnia, Katihar, Siwan, Madhepura and Sitamarhi and Supaul district. In Sitamarhi town, one woman died after a wall collapsed on her in Dumra locality, initial report suggests.

In Patna, panicked by first strong tremor at 12.36 pm, people rushed out of their houses and gathered at nearby open spaces.

While people are yet to return home, the second strong tremor felt at 13.09 pm. Panicked by two successive strong tremors, families have started shifting to big open spaces.

Soon after the tremors, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar reached his office and convened an emergency meeting with ministers and senior officers. He reviewed the situation and gave specific directions to officials of disaster management, home (Police) and health departments - alerts were sent to all the DMs and SPs to maintain peace and order in their areas and keep a vigil on rumour mongers.

Nitish Kumar later ordered the Patna DM to make quick arrangements of tent, lights and drinking waters at all open spaces where families have started shifting.

As per the CM's instructions, leave of all government doctors have been cancelled. NDRF teams have been put on alert. Similalry, jawans of Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB) have been put on alert on Indo-Nepal Border. In the state capital, police were kept on extra alert. Police forces have been deputed around the big open spaces like Gandhi Maidan and Eco Park where people have started shifting out of panic.

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