Kathmandu: At least 26 people were killed and over 150 were injured when a big earthquake struck Nepal on Tuesday.
Initial reports reaching here said that 19 people were killed in Dolakha district, located about 170 km from here.
Dolakha is about 130 km from Kodari, the epicentre of the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that struck in the afternoon.
Two five-storeyed buildings collapsed in capital Kathmandu, an official said.
Police spokesman Kamal Singh Bam earlier said that four people were killed in Chautara town in Sindhupalchowk district and three people died in capital Kathmandu.
He said that the number of deaths is likely to go up as they await news from other areas.
A major earthquake on Tuesday jolted Nepal, striking fear among the people and causing panic in a country which was barely recovering from the devastating April 25 temblor.
Cracked buildings collapsed in a heap of debris and landslides cut off roads as an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale hit Nepal, with its epicentre not far from Mount Everest — the world’s highest peak at 8,848 m.
Terrified people ran out of homes and offices as the buildings began to shake violently due to the earthquake. They ran to open space and parks here.
“It was frightening,” said an eyewitness who clutched her daughter. “It felt worse than last time,” she added
Six strong aftershocks followed in quick succession. Four of the aftershocks were in the epicentre Kodari while the strongest aftershock measured 6.3 on the Richter scale.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he has directed authorities to be on alert for rescue and relief operations.
A tweet from the prime minister’s office said: “PM took stock of the situation following the fresh major earthquake felt in Nepal and parts of India, at a high-level meeting.”
India Meteorological Department chief L.S. Rathore said that aftershocks could well continue for a few more weeks and months.
The tremors were felt in India, particularly in capital Delhi, Lucknow, Jaipur, Amritsar, Kolkata and the northeastern city of Guwahati. Buildings also shook in faraway Kochi in Kerala.
In Delhi, people ran out as buildings began to shake. Metro services were brought to a halt.
Rohtash Sharma said in Delhi: “I was at a bank when I felt the earthquake. I immediately ran out along with others.”
“Oh…this time I felt that it lasted longer than the one that we had in April. We all rushed out of our houses,” said Rakesh Sharma, who lives on the fifth floor in a high-rise building in C-Scheme area of Jaipur in India’s Rajasthan state.
In Kathmandu, an eyewitness said that he saw a building fall.
Another witness told IANS that he saw debris falling on a taxi packed with people. The fate of the people in the taxi was not immediately known.
Onlookers were left dazed and distraught on seeing the buildings collapse with a roar, a replay of the April 25 quake horror.
There was no electricity in Kathmandu. Internet connectivity too snapped.
People desperate for news tried to get in touch through their mobile phones, but that too did not work. The mobile network was jammed.
In Kathmandu, people made a beeline for shops to stock on water and other essential commodities here.
Harried shopkeepers were seen trying to manage the surging crowds at their shops.
People feared a repeat of the April 25 earthquake which caused widespread devastation.
“It is really scary,” said a Kathmandu resident as he rushed to join the people at the local grocery shop.
Nepal’s National Assembly was in session when the earth began to shake, creating panic among the lawmakers. They quickly trooped out of the building, which was soon plunged into darkness.
Kathmandu airport was closed temporarily as the ATC staff hurried out of the tower.
Eight killed as quake strikes Bihar
At least eight people, including three children, were killed and nearly two dozen people were injured when a massive earthquake caused walls to collapse in parts of Bihar on Tuesday, officials said.
The 7.3 magnitude earthquake’s epicentre was in Kodari, Nepal and its effect was felt across north India, including Bihar.
A labourer was killed when an under-construction wall collapsed in Danapur near Patna and a child was killed in Siwan district when a wall collapsed. Another child was seriously injured, officials of state disaster management department said.
Two children were killed in Manigachi in Darbhanga district in a wall collapse and a woman was killed in Dumra of Sitamarhi district when she came under the debris of a wall that fell.
One person died in Hajipur in Vaishali district, Nawada and Saran districts due to the quake.
Over half a dozen girl students of a government middle school at Bihya in Bhojpur district were injured when they were trying to rush out of class room.
“All of them were admitted at a primary health centre for treatment,” a district official said.
In Forbesganj in Araria district, bordering Nepal, at least 12 people were injured in a stampede during the quake.
People in Patna, Darbhanga, Purnea, Kishanganj, Madhubani, Jehanabad and Aurangabad felt the tremors for over a minute.
“People across Bihar felt the tremors,” Patna Met Office director A.K. Sen said.
According to state disaster management department officials here, there were reports of cracks in several houses in Jehanabad, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Patna, Gaya, and Raxaul in East Champaran district.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has called a meeting of the state disaster management department and directed officials concerned to assess the damage caused by the quake.
Hundreds of thousands of people came out of their houses across the state as soon as they felt temblor.
In Patna, people rushed out of their houses and took shelter in open spaces.