news Sunday, April 26, 2015 - 05:30
Another powerful earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale shook Nepal on Sunday even as rescuers battled against great odds to try rescue trapped people from the previous day's quake that left nearly 2,000 dead in the Himalayan nation.   Tens of thousands fled out of their homes in the Kathmandu Valley and other districts at 12.54 p.m., triggering fresh scare in a country still trying to come to grips with Saturday's extent of devastation.   The epicentre of Sunday's earthquake was at 17 km south of Kodari, about 110 km from here. The quake was comparatively shallower, at 10 km compared to the Saturday temblor whose epicentre lay at a depth of 15 km.   The second earthquake or major aftershock hit Nepal even as soldiers, policemen and other official agencies were out on the streets in full strength throughout the night both in the Kathmandu Valley and other districts as India and other countries rushed immediate help.   According to a report in The Hindu Chief Scientist and Seismologist at CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute( NGRI) R.K. Chadha told the newspaper that more than 30 after-shocks between 4.1 and 6.6 on the Richter scale have been felt since the first earthquake. “It happens in shallow-focused earthquakes of such magnitude”, he added. Chadha also told the newspaper that such tremors were expected to happen due to the shallow nature of the quake.      A day after a 7.9-magnitude earthquake rattled much of Nepal and even neighbouring India, Bhutan and Tibet, an official statement put the latest death toll at 1,911 people. The Saturday quake's epicentre lay in Lamjung district, around 75 km northwest of Kathmandu.    The Nepal home ministry said more than 50 aftershocks were also felt. "The aftershocks are still continuing," said an IANS correspondent in the nation's capital.     "Fresh tremors were felt in Delhi and other parts of northern India at around 12.45 p.m.," said G.L. Gautam, the IMD director.   "More aftershocks will follow... This will continue for weeks," he said. "Northern India would not face much of a problem."   The tremors were felt in Delhi, Gurgaon in Haryana, Noida and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, Jaipur and Kolkata, residents said.   The tremors lasted for nearly two minutes in the Indian capital.     Fearing more damage, hundreds of rattled residents of Kathmandu slept on the streets. Charitable organisations and official agencies provided food and water to the homeless.   At least 723 people perished in Kathmandu alone while 205 others were killed in Bhaktapur, just 13 km from the capital and 125 in Lalitpur, only five kilometres away, a statement from the ministry said.    Two foreigners and two police personnel were among the dead. The statement warned that the death toll was likely to rise.    More than 4,600 people were injured in the disaster and were admitted to various hospitals.   The maximum of 80 deaths were reported from Sindhupalchowk district, the Nepalese media reported.    The government has declared a national crisis and established a fund of 500 million Nepali rupees (about $4 million) for the reconstruction of the damaged infrastructures.    "We have launched a massive rescue and rehabilitation action plan and lots needs to be done," Information and Broadcasting Minister Minendra Rijal told the media. "Our country is a moment of crisis, and we will require tremendous support and aid."   This is the worst earthquake to hit Nepal in more than 80 years. The last one, in 1934, killed some 8,500 people.   Saturday's disaster brought down historical monuments such as Dharhara tower in Kathmandu while Basantapur Durbar Square and Patan Durbar Square were also destroyed.    The Kantipur Daily said the shockwaves that followed throughout the day Saturday destroyed around 80 percent of the temples in Basantapur Durbar Square.    These included the Kasthamandap, Panchtale temple, the nine-storey Basantapur Durbar, the Dasa Avtar temple and Krishna Mandir. Kasthamandap, which inspired the name Kathmandu, is a 16th century wooden monument.   A few other monuments, including the Kumari Temple and the Taleju Bhawani, have partially collapsed.    At Dharahara, around two dozen dead bodies were recovered from the tower's debris. Dharahara had broken into parts in a similar earthquake 83 years ago.    Prushottam Lochan Shrestha, a historian, told the Kantipur Daily: "We have lost most monuments that had been designated as World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur. They cannot be restored to their original state."    With inputs from IANS and Anil Giri   
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