KATHMANDU: Rescuers battled Wednesday to reach survivors of a deadly new earthquake in Nepal that triggered landslides and brought down buildings, as the search resumed for a US military helicopter that went missing while delivering aid.
Thousands of traumatized survivors spent the night outdoors, afraid to return to their houses after the 7.3-magnitude quake, which killed dozens of people and hit less than three weeks after the country was devastated by its deadliest quake in more than 80 years.
The latest disaster took the overall death toll to more than 8,200 people, and has compounded the already monumental challenge of reaching far-flung mountain communities in desperate need of shelter, food and clean water.
The Nepal army resumed its aerial search for a US Marine Corps helicopter that went missing during a disaster relief operation in eastern Nepal, near where the latest quake hit.
The Pentagon has said there may have been a problem with fuel on the chopper, which was carrying six US Marines and two Nepal army soldiers when it disappeared.
“We have been informed that an American helicopter has gone missing, search operations have begun,” said Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, spokesman for the Nepal home ministry.
Dhakal said 65 people had been confirmed dead so far in the latest quake, which was centered 76 kilometers (47 miles) east of Kathmandu, and also killed 17 people in northern India.
“We had been focusing on relief distribution, but from yesterday our resources were deployed for rescue operations again,” he said.
Tuesday’s quake was felt as far away as New Delhi, and caused buildings to collapse in Tibet in neighboring China, killing at least one person there.
A second tremor of 6.3-magnitude struck Nepal around half an hour later, followed by yet more aftershocks, according to the USGS.