Second earthquake hits Nepal | Action Against Hunger

Second earthquake hits Nepal

A second, 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on 12 May, causing further physical and emotional trauma and hampering relief efforts

By Leah Oatway

May 13 2015

On 12 May, just two weeks after a devastating earthquake left 8,000 dead in Nepal, a second quake struck the country.

Our team were helping survivors of the 25 April quake when the second 7.3-magnitude quake struck, causing further panic and fear on the streets.

Nuria Diez, a psychologist working with Action Against Hunger, was at the entrance of Kathmandu’s main hospital when it struck at around 12.35pm local time (7.50am GMT).

“I was alone in the street after leading a training session for nearly 50 nurses who had suffered from trauma and stress after the first earthquake,” she said. “Then suddenly a huge flock of birds started to fly in circles and tweet loudly. People ran away from the hospital, shouting and crying. Everything was very confusing.”

In Kathmandu where many people had started to return to their homes, families poured back into displacement camps in search of alternative shelter because they were afraid of the damage to their homes and more aftershocks. 

Like many humanitarian professionals, Ms Diaz is concerned about the emotional toll two disasters so close together will have on survivors’ capacity to recover and reconstruct. The epicenter of the second earthquake was 76 kilometres northeast of Kathmandu, southeast of Kodari (Sindhupalchok District) – an area already affected by the 25 April quake. 

“I am personally and professionally very worried about how this is going to affect the emotional resilience of the Nepalese people – not only the victims but those who are working to support them, such as the nurses I have met,” Ms Diaz said, who believes our mental health support to survivors is more vital than ever.

“In our field work we have found a strong resilience and hard-working spirit in every each Nepalese town and hamlet," said Chiara Saccardi, who is coordinating our emergency response in Nepal, "but it’s important to keep an eye on people’s stress and trauma because it impacts efforts to reconstruct the country. Those who are going to rebuild their houses, towns and villages need to be healthy, strong and mentally empowered, and eventually prepared to face another quake or aftershock. 

"What happened yesterday hasn't directly impacted our specific response but it's a step back for many and requires additional efforts from us."

The children of Nepal need our help now more than ever. We are delivering crucial aid to families in Nepal, but much more needs to be done.

This blog was updated at 4pm on 13 May 2015.

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Image credit: Daniel Burgui for Action Against Hunger