At least four people have been confirmed dead after another major earthquake hit Nepal.
The earthquake happened today (Tuesday), near the Chinese border between the capital, Kathmandu, and Mount Everest. It comes less than three weeks after the country was devastated by a quake which killed more than 8,150 people and injured over 17,860.
An official with the International Organisation for Migration said a number of buildings collapsed in the isolated town of Chautara after today’s earthquake, with at least four people killed.
Spokesman Paul Dillon said a search and rescue team had already begun searching through the wreckage of the little town.
Former Ketton resident Peter Francon now lives in Kathmandu and has been taking part in relief missions to rural areas. This morning he tweeted to say the city was still being affected by aftershocks, and he and his family had moved from their shelter because it was unsafe.
The US Geological Survey said the new earthquake hit with a magnitude of 7.3 in an isolated conservation area.
Chautara has become a focus of the aid effort after the April 25 quake which killed more than 8,150 people and injured over 17,800 as it flattened mountain villages and destroyed buildings.
The new tremor was deeper, coming from a depth of 11.5 miles, compared with 9.3 miles on April 25. More shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage at the surface.
It was followed closely by at least five aftershocks measuring from magnitude 5.6 to 6.3.
The international airport in Kathmandu, which has become a transport hub for international aid, was closed temporarily, while traffic snarled in the streets of the capital.
Aid agencies are still struggling to get reports from outside of the capital.
In Kathmandu, the quake sent people rushing out of their homes. Police gave no immediate estimates of damage.
Indian Embassy spokesman Abhay Kumar said some buildings in Kathmandu collapsed, but he gave no further details about how many or where they were. Experts say the April 25 quake caused extensive structural damage even in buildings that did not topple, and that many could be in danger of future collapse.
Rasmus Baastrup, from Doctors Without Borders, said in a live interview with Denmark’s TV2 channel: “I walked out quickly. I couldn’t run because the earth was shaking so much that it was impossible to run.”
Dr Baastrup, speaking from Kathmandu, said he had been told that all staff with Doctors Without Borders were alive.
Norway’s Red Cross, which was helping people from the April 25 earthquake at a 60-bed hospital in Chautara, said there were “many injured, several killed”.
The Nepalese have been terrified by dozens of aftershocks in the days following the April 25 quake. Meanwhile, the impoverished country has appealed for billions of pounds in aid from foreign nations, as well as medical experts to treat the wounded and helicopters to ferry food and temporary shelters to hundreds of thousands left homeless amid unseasonal rains and unreachable with landslides blocking many mountain roads.
Strong shaking was also felt across northern India. In the Indian capital of New Delhi, people scrambled outdoors while buildings swayed.
Across the Nepalese border in Tibet’s Jilong and Zhangmu regions, the earth shook strongly. Tremors were also felt slightly in the capital, Lhasa.
FURTHER READING: Former Ketton man helps bring relief to earthquake-hit Nepal.