Second Earthquake Hits Nepal: Notes from LWR Staff

A second, 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal this morning, less than three weeks after the first, 7.8 magnitude quake. Reuters reports that at least 37 people have been killed and panic is spreading. Lutheran World Relief staff are all safe and are continuing to assess the situation.

Nicole Hark, LWR’s Deputy Regional Director for Asia & the Middle East, emailed us this morning from Kathmandu, saying:

It’s been a little over an hour since we felt the second earthquake, now graded a 7.3 by USGS.  I was already walking down the stairs from the hotel meeting room where LWR Nepal staff have been working from since our office was damaged in the first quake.  At first I just thought my own balance was off, but the shout of my name from my colleague upstairs spurred me into a quicker pace down the stairs and out the door, into the hotel courtyard.  Hotel staff and other guests were also scrambling to the courtyard, with a few people calling out to others in other parts of the building.

In the interior of the courtyard is a copper basin filled with water, palm fronds and some flowers.  The whole basin shook and water splashed out onto the tile below, while the birds above cawed out their displeasure at being disrupted by the shaking branches.  We were fortunate that in this area, everything remained stable and everyone is safe.  But looking out over the terrace we could see plumes of dust rising from other parts of the city – the visual evidence of what is presumed to be more buildings collapsing.

It took what felt like forever to get a hold of our colleagues in the rural areas, who had similar reactions to our own and are also, thankfully, safe.  We’ve had two additional aftershocks since then, each time with a rush of folks into the open air, waiting for it to pass, and then slowly getting back to our work.  We’ve set up shop in the hotel courtyard with our laptops and phones, and I’ll continue to keep you posted.

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