Rescuers battle to reach survivors of new Nepal quake

2015-05-13 10:43


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kathmandu - Rescuers battled on Wednesday to reach survivors of a deadly new earthquake in Nepal that triggered landslides and brought down buildings, as the search continued for a US military helicopter that went missing while delivering aid.

Thousands of traumatised survivors spent the night outdoors, afraid to return to their houses after Tuesday's 7.3-magnitude quake hit, less than three weeks after the country was devastated by its deadliest quake in more than 80 years.

Dozens of people were killed in the latest disaster, bringing the overall death toll to more than 8 200 and compounding the already monumental challenge of reaching far-flung mountain communities in desperate need of shelter, food and clean water.

The Nepal army resumed its aerial search for a US Marine Corps helicopter that went missing during a disaster relief operation in the eastern district of Dolakha, near where the latest quake hit.

The Pentagon has said there may have been a problem with fuel on the chopper, which was carrying six US Marines and two Nepal army soldiers when it disappeared.

Relief distribution

"The missing helicopter has not been found yet. Four helicopters have been deployed to search for it," said Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, spokesman for the Nepal home ministry.

"It was heading to Dolakha with relief when it lost contact."

Dhakal said 65 people had been confirmed dead so far in the new quake, which was centred 76km east of Kathmandu, and also killed 17 people in northern India.

"We had been focusing on relief distribution, but from yesterday our resources were deployed for rescue operations again," he said.

Tuesday's quake was felt as far away as New Delhi, and caused buildings to collapse in Tibet in neighbouring China, killing at least one person there. A second tremor and more aftershocks also followed.

Large-scale casualties

Two large buildings damaged in the 7.8-magnitude quake that hit on April 25 collapsed in Kathmandu on Tuesday.

But Dolakha and Sindhupalchowk, two of the districts worst affected by the original quake, bore the brunt of the damage caused by the fresh tremors.

The Red Cross said it had received reports of large-scale casualties in the town of Chautara in Sindhupalchowk, where its Norwegian branch is running a field hospital.

"Hundreds of people are pouring in. They are treating dozens for injuries and they have performed more than a dozen surgeries," said spokesperson Nichola Jones.

There were several reports of landslides in the worst-hit areas, making the task of getting relief to remote communities in the Himalayan country even more difficult.

Save the Children said the Gorkha region, near the epicentre of the April 25 quake, had also been hit by landslides and many key roads were blocked.

"Although our personnel are already present in quake-hit areas, these blockages will make it difficult to transport relief materials," said police spokesperson Kamal Singh Bam.

Back to tents

Many in Kathmandu had begun to return to their homes after weeks sleeping outdoors, but after Tuesday's strong quake and tremors, large numbers once again spent the night under canvas.

"Yesterday's quake shook us all, I couldn't imagine sleeping in our house with the kids. But we haven't been able to sleep in the tents either," said Kabita Maharjan, a 38-year-old mother of two young children.

"It was shaking all night, how could we? My kids were terrified. Who knows what will happen now."

The head of the country's mountaineering association, Ang Tsering Sherpa, said many houses had collapsed and there were reports of damage to infrastructure in the eastern Khumbu region, where Mount Everest is located.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from there, although phone connections were poor and information has been slow to emerge.

The Nepalese government has acknowledged that it was overwhelmed by the scale of the April 25 disaster, which destroyed nearly 300 000 homes and left many more too dangerous to live in.

Scientists said Tuesday's quake was part of a chain reaction set off by the larger one that struck on April 25 in Lamjung district west of Kathmandu.

"Large earthquakes are often followed by other quakes, sometimes as large as the initial one," said Carmen Solana, a volcanologist at Britain's University of Portsmouth.

"This is because the movement produced by the first quake adds extra stress on other faults and destabilises them," she told the London-based Science Media Centre.

Read more on:    nepal  |  earthquakes  |  nepal earthquake  |  natural disasters

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.