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Nepal earthquake, magnitude 7.4, strikes near Everest
May 12, 2015, 11:04 am
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A major earthquake has struck eastern Nepal, near Mount Everest, two weeks after more than 8,000 died in a devastating quake. At least four people have been killed and an unknown number injured, according to aid agencies. The latest earthquake hit near the town of Namche Bazaar, near Mount Everest.

The US Geological Survey said it had a magnitude of 7.3. An earthquake on 25 April, centred in western Nepal, had a magnitude of 7.8. The latest tremor was also felt in northern India and Bangladesh. In the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, which was badly damaged last month, people rushed out of buildings as the quake struck at 12:35 local time (07:50 GMT).

The BBC's Yogita Limaye, who was in Nepal's mountains when the latest earthquake struck, tweeted: "We're safe. Did feel the earth shake for quite a long time. Saw dust and stones flying off mountain near by." Nepalese run for open space as a strong earthquake hits Kathmandu, Nepal, 12 May 2015.
Nepalese run for open space as a strong earthquake hits Kathmandu, Nepal, 12 May 2015. The quake was followed by another strong aftershock, measuring 6.3

She told BBC World News: "The earth shook and it shook for a pretty long time. "I can completely understand the sense of panic. We have been seeing tremors: it's been two and a half weeks since the first quake. "But this one really felt like it went on for a really long time. People have been terrified."

At least four people were killed in the town of Chautara, east of the capital, Kathmandu, where a number of buildings are reported to have collapsed. The International Organisation for Migration said bodies were being pulled from rubble there. The epicentre of the latest earthquake was 83km (52 miles) east of Kathmandu, in a rural area close to the Chinese border.

It struck at a depth of 18.5km (11.5 miles), according to the US Geological Survey. The 25 April quake was 15km (9.3 miles) deep. Shallower earthquakes are more likely to cause more damage at the surface.

Large aftershock

Tuesday's earthquake is likely to be one of the largest to hit Nepal, which has suffered hundreds of aftershocks since 25 April. The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned that buildings had collapsed in Nepal. The 7.3 quake was followed 30 minutes later by another large aftershock, centred on the district of Ramechhap, east of Kathmandu, that had a magnitude of 6.3.

Analysis 

By any stretch, a magnitude-7.3 quake is a big one. It's not quite as big as 25 April (7.8), which was 5.5 times more energetic - but a major tremor nonetheless. Since 25 April, the immediate analysis had suggested more activity on the fault was certainly possible because the previous event had not ruptured all the way to the surface.

That meant some of the strain built up in the rocks over the years had not all been released. One has to hope that those buildings that were left damaged and precarious the last time have since been felled in subsequent aftershocks, or have been put out of bounds.

This will limit the casualties this time. But further landslides and avalanches in the mountainous terrain are a persistent risk. And, of course, another big tremor does nothing for the frayed nerves of an already anxious population.

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