Major aftershock hits Nepal as search for quake survivors intensifies

April 27 09:36 2015

The Kathmandu area of Nepal was struck by a magnitude-6.7 aftershock Sunday, just a day after a massive earthquake in the region killed over 2,000 people and devastated a large swath of the capital city’s buildings and infrastructure. The U.S. Geological Survey said the aftershock was likely within a radius of 31 miles of Kathmandu. The aftershock sent people in the city running for open ground. It was not clear what damage was sustained.635656346397377009-GTY-471208416

The aftershock came as rescuers aided by international teams intensified their efforts on Sunday to clear rubble and search for survivors in Nepal after Saturday’s magnitude-7.8 earthquake — also centered outside Kathmandu. That quake was the worst to hit the poor South Asian nation in over 80 years. In that earlier quake, at least 721 people died in Kathmandu alone. Around 5,000 people were injured across the country and among the dead are 17 people who were struck by a quake-triggered avalanche on Mount Everest. Evacuations from the Earth’s highest mountain were still ongoing though the first group of survivors from the avalanche arrived in Nepal’s capital on Sunday and were taken to hospitals. Tremors from the aftershock were also felt in India.

Laxmi Dhakal, an official from Nepal’s Home Ministry, said Sunday that the number of casualties was expected to climb. More than 2,200 people are confirmed dead, according to officials. City hospitals remained overwhelmed and tens of thousands of people, fearful of aftershocks bringing down more buildings, spent Saturday night outside. The United Nations said emergency supplies were running out, as was space to store corpses.

Among the first to move in was Nepal’s giant neighbor India, with which it has close political, cultural and religious ties. Indian air force planes landed Sunday with 43 tons of relief material, including tents and food, and nearly 200 rescuers. The U.S. Mission in Nepal released an initial $1 million for immediate assistance. Australia pledged $5 million in aid. Pakistan, China and Britain said they would assist in the relief effort. On Sunday, a German rescue organization and the French government said they were sending rescue teams to the country. The humanitarian aid group Oxfam said it was sending a team of technical experts from Britain to provide clean water, sanitation and food supplies.