South Asia

Second Major Quake in Nepal In Less Than Three Weeks

The location of the May 12 earthquake's epicentre, closer to Mount Everest than the April 25 quake. Credit: USGS

The location of the May 12 earthquake’s epicentre, closer to Mount Everest than the April 25 quake. Credit: USGS

Less than three weeks after an earthquake killed over 8,000 and razed many of the celebrated heritage structures in the Kathmandu Valley, a second major quake struck Nepal at 7am on Tuesday morning, killing 26 people  – and forcing the country, and the global community, to reckon with the possibility that the worst is not over. In Bihar, six persons were killed and 21 others injured in incidents of wall and roof collapse in Darbhanga, Patna, Siwan, East Champaran and Samastipur, reports PTI.

The location of the May 12 earthquake’s epicentre, closer to Mount Everest than the April 25 quake. Credit: USGS

Tuesday’s quake, its epicentre located about 82 kilometres east of Kathmandu, measured 7.1 on the Richter scale and sustained for several minutes (the epicentre of the April 25 earthquake was only 34 kilometers from the capital). Urban populations, just beginning to turn from emergency rescue efforts towards rebuilding and rehabilitation, once again fled into the streets, anticipating new building collapses. High-rise buildings were evacuated and Metro services were immediately put on restricted mode.

Tremors were felt across north India, and at least one death has been reported in Sambhal district, Uttar Pradesh, by the ANI wire service. India’s Minister of Home Affairs, Rajnath Singh, immediately made a statement offering renewed assistance to Nepal.

According to the US Geological Survey, eight earthquakes have struck Nepal today, with three striking in the same hour. Click on the image to view in full. Credit: Screengrab of USGS page

According to the US Geological Survey, eight earthquakes have struck Nepal today, with three striking in the same hour. Click on the image to view in full. Credit: Screengrab of USGS page

Nepal’s vulnerability to serious earthquakes, caused by its position on the tectonic rift between the Indian and Eurasia plates, has long been noted by disaster management experts. A series of aftershocks followed the April earthquake, though none as severe as the one felt Tuesday morning, lending credence to warnings that “The Great Himalayan earthquake” is yet to arrive.

According to IANS, 19 people were killed in Dolakha district, located about 170 km from Kathmandu. “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 areasFor more on why the Himalayan region is so prone to earthquakes, read Vasudevan Mukunth’s piece on what we don’t know about Himalayan geology.