A major earthquake hit a remote mountainous region of Nepal on Tuesday, killing at least four people, triggering landslides and toppling buildings less than three weeks after the country was ravaged by its worst quake in decades.
Rescue helicopters were immediately sent to districts northeast of the capital of Kathmandu that Nepal believes were hardest hit by the magnitude 7.3 quake.
The government was having trouble contacting people in the area, Home Ministry spokesman Laxmi Dhakal said, but initial reports suggested there was damage in Sindhupalchowk and Dolkha districts.
Several buildings collapsed in Sindhulpalchowk’s town of Chautara, with at least four people killed, according to Paul Dillon, a spokesman with the International Organization for Migration. A rescue team was out searching through the wreckage of the little town, he said.
The quake caused landslides around Chautara, and more than 100 people had been injured in surrounding villages, chief district officer Krishna Gyawali said.
Chautara has become a hub for humanitarian aid after the 7.8-magnitude quake on April 25 that killed more than 8,150 people and injured more than 17,860 as it flattened mountain villages and destroyed buildings. It was Nepal’s worst recorded earthquake since 1934.
Tuesday’s quake was deeper, however, coming from a depth of 18.5 kilometers (11.5 miles) versus the earlier one at 15 kilometers (9.3 miles). Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage.
The Tuesday quake was followed closely by at least six strong aftershocks, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The international airport in Kathmandu, which has become a transport hub for international aid, was closed temporarily on Tuesday, while traffic snarled in the streets of Kathmandu. ( news.yahoo.com )