Just over two weeks after thousands died in a mammoth earthquake, Nepal got hit hard again Tuesday — with another powerful tremor that has left dozens more dead, more than 1,000 injured and questions about what’s next for the already traumatized Asian nation.
The fact that Nepal just endured a similar horror, not to mention waves of aftershocks that followed, didn’t diminish Tuesday’s damage or shock. More buildings collapsed, more landslides rumbled and more people scrambled for their lives.
“For the first seconds, it was complete silence. By the fifth second, everybody started to scream,” said Marc Sarrado, a 41-year-old documentarian from Spain who was in Nepal’s Nuwakot Valley, about two hours northwest of Kathmandu, when the quake hit.
“It was really, really intense. Even when the shaking stopped, people were still screaming. They were completely panicked, because they knew exactly what it was.”
â€” Saugat adhikari (@saugatad) May 12, 2015
Tuesday’s magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck about 9.3 miles (15 kilometers) deep, the U.S. Geological Survey said. For comparison’s sake, the magnitude-7.8 quake on April 25 — which killed more than 8,000 — was centered east of, rather than west of Kathmandu and a little farther away (50 miles). That earlier tremor was also more than three times bigger and 5.6 times stronger, in terms of energy released, according to the USGS.
â€” Jack Board (@JackBoard) May 12, 2015
So, yes, it could have been worse. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t dangerous.
Nepalese police spokesman Kamal Singh Bam said at least 50 people in his country had died as of late Tuesday night. More than 1,260 had been counted as injured at that point, with dozens having been rescued alive from rubble, according to government spokesman Minendra Rijal.
The carnage wasn’t confined to Nepal. China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported that a woman in Tibet died Tuesday afternoon after falling rocks hit her car. At least 17 more people died in northeastern India, according to Indian Home Ministry spokesman Kuldeep Dhatwalia. India’s military was also involved inside Nepal, caring for casualties and flying them by helicopter from the village of Mrigu to Kathmandu.
This latest quake only adds to the stress for residents of a region who had been trying to return to normalcy, until Mother Nature reasserted herself.
It was “like the whole Earth was alive,” said Asim Rai, after huddling with his family in Kathmandu.