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50 deaths in second major Nepal quake

'It is a very severe earthquake. It is in a highly populated area. Honestly, we fear the worst,' UN spokesman says

12.05.2015 - Update : 12.05.2015
50 deaths in second major Nepal quake

DHAKA, Bangladesh

The second major earthquake to hit Nepal in a matter of weeks has killed at least 50 people on Tuesday, according to officials. 

There were at least 42 deaths in Nepal and another 17 in India, according to the two countries' home ministries. 

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal near the border with China, the U.S. Geological Survey said Tuesday.

The quake struck 49.7 miles (80 kilometers), east of capital Kathmandu. A series of large aftershocks were also reported shortly afterwards. 

Aid agencies are concerned that the quake could worsen conditions in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that hit country on April 25 killing more than 8,150 people and injuring up to 18,000. 

Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said in a press conference in Geneva on Tuesday: "This is a very large earthquake. There were subsequently in Nepal, two other earthquakes within 30 minutes after the first one. One is 5.6 on the Richter scale and second one is 6.2."

About the consequences of the latest event, Laerke said: "It is a very severe earthquake. It is in a highly populated area. Honestly, we fear the worst."

Emergency services and international aid agencies had shifted their focus from rescue operations to providing relief, especially to the displaced, ahead of the upcoming monsoon season. 

The new quake has however caused buildings already made fragile by April's quake, to collapse. There are also fears the shock, combined with recent heavy rains, could trigger landslides in remote areas which authorities are already struggling to provide aid to. 

"Since the original earthquake struck, children have been living in a constant state of worry and stress, and a second earthquake of this magnitude will only worsen the problem and cause further devastation,” said the Nepal director of anti-poverty NGO Plan International, Mattias Bryneson, in a statement. 

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