Kathmandu: Fresh tremors jolted quake-ridden Nepal on Tuesday, killing at least 42 people, causing panic among residents and unleashing landslides in Himalayan valleys near Mount Everest, Gulf News can report.
Paul Dillon, spokesman for the International Organisation for Migration, told reporters that those killed were due to collapsed buildings.
Most of the reported fatalities were in villages and towns east of Kathmandu, only just beginning to pick up the pieces after the April 25 quake that left more than 8,000 people dead.
Many of the deaths were in the Chautara district, east of Kathmandu. People could be seen running out of their houses and fearing for the worst.
Also on Tuesday, six US Marines and two Nepalese soldiers were aboard a US Marine Corps helicopter that was declared missing while conducting relief efforts in earthquake-hit areas of Nepal, the US Pacific Command said. As night fell, search flights for a missing US chopper in Nepal was suspended, according to the Pentagon.
The new earthquake was centred 76 km (47 miles) east of the capital in a hilly area close to the border with Tibet, according to coordinates provided by the US Geological Survey.
Villagers who watched their homes collapse said they only survived because they were already living in tents. Aid workers reported serious damage to some villages in the worst-affected Charikot area and said some people were still trapped under rubble. Witnesses said rocks and mud came crashing down remote hillsides lined with roads and small hamlets.
This is a short video uploaded by the Canadian Red Cross staff stationed near Dhunche, northern Nepal, after a major temblor hit the country again Tuesday.
Tuesday's earthquake came after Nepal was battered by a 7.8 magnitude quake two weeks ago, killing at least 8,000 people and destroying thousands of homes and buildings.
This reporter, who was at a hotel in Kathmandu, could feel the ground shaking at around 12:45pm, and had to run out of the hotel in Thamel.
Nepal's Home Ministry raised the death toll from the latest earthquake to at least 36 at about 11:48 GMT (1:48 pm in Dubai).
The US Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.4 and the epicentre is believed to be 18 kilometres southeast of Kodari in Nepal.
People were seen out on the streets in hundreds, without knowing what to expect even as more tremors could be felt.
"I am terrified. I can't believe this is happening," Australian visitor Dianna Coburn, 59, told Gulf News.
Uttam Kapri, who runs the Mi Casa hotel in Thamel, Kathmandu, said, "First there was a jolt. Then I felt I was being swayed from side to side. I immediately ran out to the street." Mi Casa developed a crack after the fresh tremor.
Residents say this is the strongest aftershock they have felt in the last two weeks.
"There were tremors all these days. But we were getting used to it. but this one today is really scary. we hope we are safe," said Shailamitra, another resident.
The quake, which struck near the base camp for Everest, was measured at a shallow depth of about 10km.
"It felt worse than the April earthquake," an eyewitness said.
In India, panic-stricken people were seen rushing out of buildings. Strong tremors were felt in north and east India, including Delhi, Srinagar, Amritsar, Guwahati, Lucknow and Jaipur.
Metro services in Delhi were promptly halted, and authorities said that in many areas, high-rise buildings are being vacated.
Children in quake-hit areas feared to be at risk
Nepal officials and child rights groups say hundreds of thousands of children have been forced into camps since losing their homes in last month's earthquake and some of them are at risk of exploitation, abuse and even human trafficking.
Namuna Bhusal of the Nepal government's Central Child Welfare Board said Tuesday that the children are exposed to many risks in the camps where people are forced to live together in shared tents and space.
Radio messages have been broadcast warning people not to leave their children without a guardian and to look out for suspicious people in the camps.
The Canadian Red Cross has said it set up a field hospital and is able to provide assistance to the people injured. In Chautara, the Norwegian Red Cross is also running a field hospital and helping the people who have been injured in this morning quake.
With input from agencies