KATHMANDU: A new earthquake and several powerful aftershocks hit devastated Nepal on Tuesday, killing at least 16 people and sending terrified residents running into the streets of the traumatized capital.
The 7.3-magnitude quake struck at 12:35 p.m., some 76 kilometers (47 miles) east of Kathmandu, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said, more than two weeks after a 7.8-magnitude quake which killed more than 8,000 people.
Tuesday’s quake was felt as far away as New Delhi, and officials said it caused buildings to collapse in Chinese-controlled Tibet.
A second tremor of 6.3 magnitude struck around half an hour later, followed by aftershocks, according to the USGS.
“According to the reports that we have received from the ground, four people have been killed due to collapsed buildings,” Paul Dillon, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, told AFP.
All the deaths were in the Chautara district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered huge damage in the April 25 disaster.
The ground swayed for close to a minute from the first tremor on Tuesday, and sirens wailed, according to an AFP correspondent in Kathmandu.
“We felt it and suddenly there were huge crowds running up and down,” said resident Suresh Sharma, who was in a vegetable market at the time.
“It was very scary and very difficult to make my way out,” added the 63-year-old.
“The last time we had the big quake I ran out of my house and barely escaped. This one felt just like that one. I can’t believe it’s happening again.”
Although the latest quake did not appear to be as severe as the April 25 one, residents were terrified that buildings which were already badly damaged could come crashing down.
Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, the main entry point for flights bringing in international aid since the April quake, was closed anew Tuesday as a precaution.