A second strong earthquake struck in northeast Nepal on Tuesday, resulting in the death of at least 42 people, causing landslides and knocking down buildings just three weeks after the nation was hit by its worst quake in more than 80 years.
Information on the second Nepal earthquake on Tuesday was slowly trickling in, but Nepali officials and NGOs said the death toll was sure to increase. As of 8 AM CT, it is confirmed that 42 people have been killed and more than 1100 are injured, Home Ministry official Laxmi Dhakal noted.
Details on second Nepal earthquake
The new magnitude-7.3 earthquake hit hardest in districts northeast of the capital of Kathmandu, and further scarred a country struggling to recover from the devastating April 25th tremblor that killed more than 8,150 and destroyed entire villages.
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In a small piece of good news, the government announced that rescuers had managed to rescue at least three people trapped by rubble in the capital, and another nine were pulled out in the Dolkha district.
Rescue helicopters were sent to the mountain districts where landslides and collapsed buildings may have buried people, the government said. Home Ministry official Laxmi Dhakal said the Sindhupalchowk and Dolkha districts were the hardest hit.
Of note, seismologists pointed out that Tuesday’s quake was deeper than the first Nepal earthquake, coming from a depth of 18.5 kilometers (11.5 miles) instead of 15 kilometers (9.3 miles). Keep in mind that shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage as the earth movement is more violent.
The second earthquake in Nepal today was followed closely by at least eight strong aftershocks, terrifying local residents for several hours.
The international airport in Kathmandu, a critical transport hub for arriving aid, had to close down for several hours after Tuesday’s quake. Souorces report that traffic in the streets of Kathmandu ground to a complete halt and the scene is still chaotic.
Incoming reports suggested that at least two buildings had collapsed in the capital, but luckily one of the buildings was unoccupied due to earlier damage. Experts say the April 25th quake caused major structural damage even in buildings that did not collapse, and many will have be demolished for safety reasons.
More on devastating April 25th earthquake in Nepal
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that stuck Nepal on April 25th killed more than 8,000 people, left tens of thousands injured and hundreds of thousand homeless. Rescue teams from all across the globe have been working around the clock to extract as many people as possible from the rubble of collapsed buildings for more than two weeks.
Government officials in Nepal also report that hundreds of historic buildings, bridges and other sites have been damaged or destroyed by the earthquake. This is a huge loss for the country, both in terms of irreplaceable cultural heritage and the future of the very important tourism industry.
Nepal earthquake relief effort underfunded
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) published a plea for more donations via Twitter on Tuesday. The global aid organization highlighted that the Nepal earthquake relief fund was only 13% funded to date. UNOCHA issued a report on May 4th calling for a total $423 million in emergency assistance to Nepal to help deal with the aftermath of the earthquake, but barely $50 million has been raised so far.
Note that the $23 million aid estimate was made before the second major earthquake on Tuesday, so the need for immediate donations is even more critical.
The UN agency notes that the greatest needs in the Nepal earthquake zone are in the categories of food security, shelter and water, sanitation and hygiene.
Statement from UNICEF official
“The shaking seemed to go on and on,” commented Rose Foley, a UNICEF official based in Kathmandu, in describing the second quake on Tuesday. “It felt like being on a boat in rough seas.”
Foley continued to say: “We’re thinking about children across the country, and who are already suffering. This could make them even more vulnerable.”