At least 37 people are dead and more than 1,000 injured after another powerful earthquake struck Nepal – flattening buildings and triggering landslides.
The 7.3-magnitude quake happened at lunchtime on Tuesday – less than three weeks after the impoverished country was devastated by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake which killed at least 8,000 people and injured more than 17,000.
Nepal’s Home Ministry said 37 people have been killed and 1,117 injured, with the number of dead expected to rise.
Meanwhile, the US Pacific Command has said a US Marine Corps helicopter which was assisting with the relief effort has been reported missing in Nepal. Six US marines and two Nepalese soldiers were on board at the time.
Aid agencies are struggling to get reports from outside the capital of Kathmandu, and the quake’s epicentre was located between Kathmandu and Mount Everest.
Volunteers are searching the rubble of fallen buildings through the night for survivors, calling out into the darkness for them to make a sound.
Rejoien Guru, one of the rescuers involved in the effort, said: “It’s better to search at night so it’s quiet.”
In neighbouring India, at least 17 people have been confirmed dead after walls and rooftops collapsed – and Chinese media have reported one death in Tibet.
According to the US Geological Survey, there have been 10 strong aftershocks since – and two had magnitudes of 6.3 and 5.6.
This latest quake came from a depth of about 18.5km (11 miles).
In contrast, the more powerful earthquake on 25 April struck at 15km (9.3 miles) – and shallower quakes tend to cause more damage.
Experts have warned that buildings which did not topple following the earthquake three weeks ago have still suffered extensive structural damage, and many could be in danger of future collapse.
Rhita Doma Sherpa, a nurse, said the building where her two sons go to school was visibly cracked – and parts had collapsed.
“It was lunchtime. All the kids were outside. Thank god,” she added.
In remote areas, villagers watched their homes collapse during the latest quake – and said they only survived because they had continued to sleep in tents.
The quake lasted for about 40 seconds – and when it hit in the town of Chautara, which suffered the heaviest death toll in last month’s quake, hundreds ran into the streets.
There were similar scenes in the centre of Kathmandu, and one bystander, Dilip Dhakal, tweeted a photo as crowds began to form.
He said people were “panicked” and “some are crying and wailing”.
Sulav Singh, who ran into the street with his daughter, said: “I thought I was going to die this time. Things were just getting back to normal, and we get this one.”