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50 killed in Nepal quake, 17 dead as tremors jolt India

Last updated on: May 12, 2015 23:47 IST
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A woman injured in an earthquake walks toward a hospital soon after the earthquake in Sankhu, Nepal. Photographer: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

 

A new 7.3-magnitude earthquake and seven powerful aftershocks struck Nepal on Tuesday killing at least 50 people and triggering panic in the Himalayan nation already devastated by a monster temblor less than three weeks ago that had claimed over 8,000 lives.

According to Nepal Police Spokesperson Kamal Singh Bam, the fresh quake that hit hardest in remote mountain districts northeast of the country's capital Kathmandu killed at least 50 people, injuring more than 1,100 people besides causing further physical damages. Unofficial reports put the death toll at around 60.

The tremors left 17 dead in India, including 16 in Bihar. The state once again bore the brunt of the temblor that occurred less than three weeks after the monster quake that devastated Nepal.

Nepal's 7.3-magnitude earthquake today followed by at least seven more tremors in a span of less than two hours, the Indian Meteorological Department said.

It also added that the 7.3 quake was not a fresh tremor but an aftershock of the April 25 trembler in Nepal which has experienced at least 102 tremors since then.

The first tremor shook Nepal and parts of North India at 12.35 pm, followed by a medium intensity jolt of 5.4 on the Richter Scale at 1.04 pm. Three minutes later, another 6.2 aftershock was recorded.

The remaining five tremors were recorded till 2.04 pm which measured between 4 and 5 on the Richter scale.

"The quake was not a fresh quake, but an aftershock. The Indian plate is subducting under the Eurasian plate and it will take time to adjust. At times it has been observed that aftershocks continue for months after the earthquake," J L Gautam, Head of Operations of IMD's Seismology Division, said.

According to IMD, since the 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Nepal on April 25, more than 102 tremors have hit the country which falls under Grade V, a high risk classification area.

The Nepal Seismology Centre, however, has recorded nine tremors with the major one measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale in Dhading, Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk and Gorkha districts. It also says that more than 160 aftershocks have been recorded since the first April 25 earthquake.



Union home ministry sources said Bihar's capital Patna accounted for the largest number of four deaths, followed by Darbhanga and Saran (two each), besides Siwan, Nawada, Samastipur, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Madhepura, Motihari and Purnia recording one death each. Another death was reported from Uttar Pradesh.

The April 25 earthquake had left 58 dead in Bihar, the largest in the country.

Though the quake was felt in areas far apart from Delhi to Chennai, there were no reports of casualties or major loss of property from these places.

The ripples from Tuesday's quake brought back the memories of April 25, with panic-stricken residents rushing out of buildings in Delhi, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.

At least 12 students were injured in a school in Darbhanga in Bihar as children rushed out to safety from class rooms after the tremors.

The Delhi Secretariat as well as many government buildings in the national capital were evacuated immediately after the quake. Metro services were immediately restricted.

Buildings collapsed in Nepal’s after the tremors and the injured were rushed to hospitals, Reuters reported. The Kathmandu airport has been shut temporarily. People in Kathmandu rushed outdoors and shopkeepers downed their shutters.

“All available helicopters along with Medical Team; SSR Team going to be mobilised to Dolakha and Sindhupalchowk soon,” said Nepal's National Emergency Operation Centre.

Three major landslides reported in Nepal’s Sindhupalchowk region, at least 12 injured, says a district official.

A woman speaks on her mobile phone as she stands with others after vacating their office buildings following an earthquake in Kolkata. Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

The home ministry said there was also a near simultaneous earthquake epicentred in Afghanistan which measured 6.9 on Richter scale.

With the memories of the temblor still fresh, panic-stricken people rushed out of buildings in Delhi, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. Schools were vacated after the tremors in many parts of the country. At least 12 students were injured in a school in Darbhanga in Bihar as children rushed out to safety from class rooms after the tremors.

People stand outside a office building after vacating it following an earthquake in Kolkata, India. At least 2 people have died in India, while 4 have died in Nepal. Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

In Kolkata, hundreds of people ran out of their homes and offices into the streets. Similar reports came from Assam and other eastern states. The tremors were also felt in Bhopal and as far as Chennai.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has directed all senior officials to monitor the situation.

People in Kathmandu pour into the streets after the quake on Tuesday. Photograph: Anusha Subramanian

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has also sought reports from all district magistrates about extent of damage in their areas. 

Director General of IMD LS Rathore said aftershocks will continue for weeks or maybe months.

The home ministry is collecting details about the damage from the earthquake. National Disaster Response Force has been placed on alert, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in Delhi.

A couple with their infant look for shelter near the Pashupatinath Temple on Tuesday. Photograph: Anusha Subramanian

Home Minister Rajnath Singh also called up India’s Ambassador to Nepal Ranjeet Ray and took stock of the situation in the Himalayan nation. 

“No one should create a panic; whatever help Nepal needs, we’ll provide it,” said Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh minuted after the quake. “The home ministry is collecting details and information about any damage from earthquake in India,” he added

Apart from the state capital Bhubaneswar, tremors were felt in Cuttack, Balasore, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Khurda, Rourkela, Ganjam, Baripada, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Nabarangpur and several other places.

Mild tremors were also felt in some parts of Chennai as the fallout of a powerful earthquake epicentred in Nepal, officials said. Tremors were felt in Valasaravakkam, Santhome and parts of Kodambakkam, they said. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the situation in the aftermath of the fresh quake and directed the authorities concerned to be on alert to rush in relief and carry out rescue operations wherever necessary. "The PM took stock of the situation following the fresh major earthquake felt in Nepal and parts of India, at a high-level meeting," the Prime Minister's Office said.

Director General of IMD LS Rathore said aftershocks could continue for weeks or maybe months.

The Indian Army said in a statement that its teams are assessing the damage and working in close coordination with the Nepal army. The Advanced Light Helicopter continue to be employed for rescue efforts in Pokhra and adjoining areas in spite of weather and terrain limitations and have conducted eight sorties and brought to safety 27 people besides delivering nearly eight tonnes of relief material to inaccessible areas.

The Indian Army Field Hospital at Senamangal treated seven Nepal Police personnel with minor injuries apart from activating two medical teams with ambulance for receiving casualties at Kathmandu Airport, the statement said.

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