26 killed, 150 injured in Nepal quake: Police

Kathmandu: A major earthquake today jolted Nepal, killing at least 26 people and injuring more than 150.

The fresh tremor has struck fear among the people as they barely have recovered from the devastating April 25 temblor.

Police spokesman Kamal Singh Bam said that four people were killed in Chautara town in Sindhupalchowk district and three people died in capital Kathmandu as dozens of buildings were collapsed. He said that the number of deaths is likely to go up as they await news from other areas.
Initial reports suggests 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.

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 today, 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.