Officials are walking through quake-damaged streets in Nepal, warning people to abandon their buildings after a second major earthquake in less than three weeks left them dangerous.
The evacuation orders came a day after Nepal, just beginning to rebuild after the devastating April 25 tremor, was hit by a magnitude-7.3 quake.
Tuesday’s earthquake killed at least 76 people, injured another 2,700 and caused landslides that blocked roads and slowed the delivery of relief supplies.
“There is danger,” the officials called out over loud-hailers. “Leave the buildings.”
Most people, though, had already fled into the open the day before, and had spent the night in tents or under plastic tarpaulins.
Tuesday’s quake battered Chautara, a foothills town that became a hub for rescuers and humanitarian aid after the first earthquake. Officials there said at least three people had died on Tuesday and more than 60 were injured.
Jamie McGoldrick, a UN official in Nepal, said the earthquake had aggravated problems in the areas already hit by the earlier quake.
“Damaged houses were further damaged or destroyed. Houses and schools building spared before were affected yesterday, roads were damaged,” he said.
Among 14 quake-hit districts, some are very inaccessible.
A large part of population could not be reached easily as roads have been damaged by the earthquake.
“Some are even difficult to reach by helicopter. We are facing monumental challenge here to support the government in these districts to have credible response,” he said.
Meanwhile, a US Marine Corps helicopter carrying six Marines and two Nepalese soldiers was reported missing while delivering disaster aid on Tuesday in the country’s north-east, US officials said, although there have been no indications the aircraft crashed.
Home ministry official Laxmi Dhakal said that army helicopters were scouring the Sunkhani area, nearly 50 miles north-east of Kathmandu, for the missing aircraft.
The quake, centred between Kathmandu and Mount Everest, struck hardest in the foothills of the Himalayas and triggered landslides that blocked roads to remote villages.
Most of those confirmed dead by this morning were in Dolakha district, located north-east of Kathmandu, the district’s chief administrator Prem Lal Lamichane said.
“People are terrorised. Everyone is scared here. They spent the night out in the open,” he said, adding the administration was running out of relief material.
He asked the government to send more helicopters and supplies, and said many injured people stranded in villages.
The new quake also left nearly 2,000 injured, according to the home ministry’s latest count.
Tremors radiated across parts of Asia. In neighbouring India, at least 16 people were confirmed dead after rooftops or walls collapsed onto them.