Kathmandu: At least 19 people were today killed and nearly 1,000 injured in Nepal when a new, powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake, jolted the Himalayan nation already battered by widespread death and destruction brought by the temblor less than three weeks ago.
The earthquake struck at 12:35 PM, some 83 kilometres east of Kathmandu near Mount Everest at a depth of 15 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said. It had earlier measured the quake at 7.4 but revised the intensity later to 7.3.
The quake hit Dolakha and Sindhupalchowk districts - the worst-affected areas in the last month's temblor. Home Ministry official Laxmi Dhakal said at least 19 people were killed and 981 were injured.
The fresh quake triggered massive panic among the people, who have been staying in the open since the 7.9-magnitude temblor struck on April 25, killing over 8,000 people and flattening thousands of buildings.
“All available helicopters along with Medical Team; SSR Team going to be mobilised to Dolakha and Sindhupalchowk soon,” said Nepal's National Emergency Operation Centre. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has stationed eight helicopters in Nepal and one of them conducted an aerial survey soon after today's quake.
As many as six aftershocks measuring over 5 on the Richter Scale kept people on edge.
Nepal's only international airport, the Tribhuvan International Airport, was briefly closed by authorities and flights to Kathmandu were diverted.
Strong tremors were felt in the capital Kathmandu where people ran out of their houses in panic and some even started crying. Authorities appealed to people to stay in open field. The temblor triggered landslides and toppled buildings in Nepal that recently witnessed its worst quake in over 80 years and over 160 aftershocks.
Today's quake had its impact in several cities in Bihar, West Bengal and UP and tremors were felt across vast stretches of east and northeast India. It was also felt in China.