Just two weeks after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake devastated Nepal and claimed over 8,000 lives, a powerful 7.3 earthquake has struck the rural town of Namche, which lies around 50 miles northeast of Kathmandu, near Mount Everest and the Chinese border. Initial updates from Nepal’s National Emergency Operation Centre suggest that at least 42 people have died and over 1,100 are injured as a result of today’s earthquake, and that figure is expected to rise amid reports of collapsed buildings and landslides.
The quake was felt in neighboring Bangladesh and parts of India, and its epicenter is particularly close to the border with a rural region of China. There are widespread reports of panic as people sought out open ground during the earthquake, which reportedly lasted for around 25 seconds and was followed by a series of strong aftershocks, the strongest of which registered at a 6.0 magnitude.
In Nepal alone, the Government has told the BBC that 31 of the nation’s 75 districts have been affected by the earthquake, with widespread damage and fatalities reported—including in the nation’s already traumatized capital of Kathmandu. Almost half the fatalities reported by Nepal so far have occurred in the Dolakha district, directly to the west of the earthquake’s epicenter in Namche.
Rescue helicopters are working to provide relief in the region, much of which can only otherwise be accessed on foot.
Jonathan Amos at the BBC notes that “this second earthquake was almost certainly triggered by the stress changes caused by the first one. Indeed, the US Geological Survey had a forecast for an aftershock in this general area,” and moreover, it could have been significantly worse. While it registered at a 7.3, the US Geological Survey reports that the devastating April 25 quake was more than three times bigger and 5.6 times stronger than the one that struck today.
But the culmination of the two events has caused already weakened buildings and infrastructure to crumble, and further stretches the aid resources available in Nepal and surrounding areas. To find out some of the ways you can help, click here.