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Second earthquake rekindles fear

Nick Guttmann, our Head of Humanitarian, had just arrived in Nepal to monitor the progress of Christian Aid’s initial relief efforts when the second earthquake struck. Here he describes what happened.

We were eating lunch when the earthquake hit.

At first, we thought it was an aftershock. The ground began to rock slightly. Then the rocking got stronger.

The pictures on the wall, and the lamps, swung from side to side. Everyone else in the room jumped up, looking frightened, unsure where to go.

‘Stay here!’ some people called. Others shouted to get out. Dogs were barking.

Some people ran to the open area at the top of the stairs. Others said to get back under the roof, a sheet of corrugated iron.

After what seemed like ages, the rocking stopped.

Taking stock 

Our food was still on the table, bowls of chilli vinegar spilt everywhere. My colleague, Ram, and I both took another mouthful and went upstairs.

Some people were laughing nervously, some were just looking very anxious. Most were trying to call their relatives to see if they were OK. The phone system went down for a short time.

People began speculating on how strong the earthquake had been: ‘It wasn't as big as last time.’

‘But it was big.’

‘I'd say 6.5 plus.’

‘No, it was over 7.’ 

It turned out to be 7.3 on the Richter scale, with the epicentre about 76km east of Kathmandu.

About 30 minutes later there was another rumble and you could see the building sway slightly. The air was still but full of birds, which had all taken off when the second quake struck.

Emergency supplies

This all happened at about 12.30pm local time.

In the afternoon, we went to look at a water distribution system that had just been installed. It can provide 1,000 litres of fresh water per hour. 

This is absolutely critical for a community in which a very large number of houses were reduced to rubble in the earthquake of 25 April.

The distribution of emergency supplies to a community that we were going to visit had been cancelled.

The streets were crowded with people who had come outside and were too frightened to go back in.

'When will this end?'

People preparing to sleep outside in KathmanduIn the evening, we went for a walk around central Kathmandu. The area is normally full of life, with shops, bars, restaurants and a bustling market. But now it’s eerily quiet.

Any open space was filling with people putting up tarpaulins, trying to find a safe place to sleep.

So far, it's been reported that the second earthquake killed 60 people and injured over 2,000.

So the effect was not as bad as the first, two weeks ago - but it was still strong enough to make people very nervous.

‘What's happening to Nepal?’ someone asked me this morning. ‘When will this end?'

Nepal Earthquake Appeal

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