NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) – A 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal today, killing at least 40 people. The quake comes only two weeks after the region experienced a devastating 7.8 magnitude quake, which killed 8,000.
The epicenter of the earthquake was between Kathmandu, the nation's capital, and Mt. Everest, and closer to both than the previous quake April 25. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the quake today was followed by a significant aftershock of magnitude 6.3 30 minutes later.
The BBC reported more houses and lodges in the Mt. Everest region had collapsed, but most tourists had already been evacuated after the first earthquake. Most of the damage today was confined to areas where temporary workers lived in older brick houses in Kathmandu. According to reports from the area, several buildings had completely collapsed.
Nepal is home to a growing population of Christians, but one devastated by the first earthquake which struck as they had gathered for worship April 25. At the time of the quake, Reuben Rai, director of the Churches Network Nepal, said as many as 1,000 Christians were feared dead.
Two hundred Christians were killed when the church they were in in rural Dhading collapsed, Rai told the Jerusalem Post after the first quake. He also said 20 Christians died will praying in the Kanaan Church in Kapan.
Baptist Global Response and Samaritan's Purse have both pledged assistance to the region and are evaluating needs on the ground. Today's quake may accelerate plans to deploy assistance, but to date groups like the Texas Baptist Men (TBM) have not left for the region. TBM remains on call, Grace Gaddy, the group's director of communications, told Christian Examiner today.
Large aftershocks are expected to continue as the Eurasia and Indian tectonic plates continue to crash into one another. According to the USGS, the Indian plate is sliding under the Himalaya Mountains. Scientific models produced by the USGS after the April 25 earthquake indicated another large quake in the region was possible.