Rescuers try to reach remote mountain communities as death toll rises to 66 in latest disaster to hit Himalayan nation.
by Al Jazeera
Rescuers have continued efforts to reach survivors of a deadly new earthquake in Nepal that triggered landslides and brought down buildings, as the search resumed for a US military helicopter that went missing while delivering aid.
Thousands of traumatised survivors woke on Wednesday morning after spending the night outdoors, afraid to return to their houses after the 7.3-magnitude quake, which killed at least 66 people in Nepal and hit less than three weeks after the country was devastated by its deadliest quake in more than 80 years.
The latest disaster took the overall death toll over the past three weeks to more than 8,200 people, and has compounded the already monumental challenge of reaching far-flung mountain communities in desperate need of shelter, food and clean water.
Al Jazeera’s Annette Ekin in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, said that people pitched tents outside on Tuesday night because they were terrified that there would be another quake.
The latest major quake struck the town of Namche Bazaar near the Mount Everest base camp, Nepalese officials said.
Missing rescue helicopter
Nepal’s army resumed its aerial search on Wednesday for a US Marine Corps helicopter that went missing during a disaster relief operation in eastern Nepal, 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 Nepali army soldiers when it disappeared.
“We have been informed that an American helicopter has gone missing, search operations have begun,” said Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, spokesman for the Nepal home ministry.
The Nepalese government said 66 people had been confirmed dead so far in the latest quake, which was centred 76km east of Kathmandu. The quake 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 of 6.3-magnitude struck Nepal around half an hour later, followed by yet more aftershocks, according to the USGS.
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.
“At an hour of a natural disaster like this, we have to face it with courage and patience,” Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said after an emergency meeting of his cabinet on Tuesday.
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.