Nepal hit with new 7.4 quake as two Americans are rescued

Epicenter of earthquake was near to Mount Everest as U.S. citizens found in remote mountain villages

Earthquake victims stand in a queue to receivREUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Reuters – At least 19 were killed as a strong earthquake shook Nepal on Tuesday, sending people in the capital Kathmandu rushing out on to the streets just weeks after a devastating quake killed more than 8,000 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes.


The U.S. Geological Survey said Tuesday's earthquake had a magnitude of 7.4 and struck about 42 miles west of the town of Namche Bazar, close to Mount Everest and the border with Tibet. It was felt as far apart as New Delhi and Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.


Residents in the Indian town of Siliguri, near the border with Nepal, said chunks of concrete fell off one or two buildings.


People in Kathmandu, panic-stricken after the April 25 quake, rushed outdoors, Reuters reporters said.


Parents could be seen clutching children tightly and hundreds of people were frantically trying to call relatives on their mobile phones. Shopkeepers closed their shops and the streets were jammed with people rushing to check on their families.

"I'm heading straight home," said Bishal Rai, a man in his 20s, who said he was trying to contact his family in the north of the capital.

The quake's epicenter was close to Everest Base Camp, which was evacuated after an avalanche triggered by last month's quake killed 18 climbers. Mountaineers seeking to scale the world's tallest peak have called off this year's Everest season.

Last month's quake killed at least 8,046 people and injured more than 17,800. It was recorded at 7.8 magnitude, almost four times stronger than Tuesday's quake.

But a 7.4 magnitude earthquake has the potential to cause significant damage and landslides.

Meanwhile, the Nepali army said today that it had rescued 117 people from three remote mountain villages north of the capital Kathmandu, including two U.S. citizens who had been searching for a missing relative.

The 115 Nepalis and two Americans were evacuated on Monday from Syanjen, Kenjing and Langtang Village, where hundreds of people were killed in a huge landslide and avalanche triggered by last month's earthquake.

All of those rescued were stranded in the three popular trekking villages in Rasuwa district, about 35 miles north of Kathmandu, after the 7.8 earthquake struck on April 25.

A series of avalanches and bad weather in the area had slowed the military's efforts to reach those cut off.

"The entire Langtang Valley has turned into a rocky and snowy ruin due to avalanches," Uddhav Bhattarai, Rasuwa's district administrator, told Reuters.

On Sunday, the continuing avalanche risk led officials to suspend their search for some 200 bodies believed to be buried beneath the rock and snow in Langtang Village.

As of Monday, 128 bodies had been recovered there.

"Rescuers have been unable to go there to look for bodies since the weekend because avalanches continue to fall and make it dangerous," Bhattarai said.

The U.S. citizens rescued on Monday were with a Nepali guide, a military official said, and were brought to the district capital of Dhunche along with the Nepalis who were rescued.

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