Earthquake rattles Nepal, north-east India and Tibet

Nepal was struck by a magnitude-5.2 earthquake (left) while a 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck India’s north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Nepal was struck by a magnitude-5.2 earthquake (left) while a 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck India’s north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB FROM EARTHQUAKE.USGS.COM

KATHMANDU (DPA, AFP) - Nepal was struck by a magnitude-5.2 earthquake early on Wednesday (April 24), the country's seismological centre said, on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the major quake that killed about 9,000 people.

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake also struck India’s north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh early on Wednesday and was felt in neighbouring Tibet.

In Nepal, the moderate intensity quake hit at 6.29am local time, Nepal's National Seismological Centre said. Its epicentre was in Naubise, about 28km south-west of Kathmandu.

Another quake of magnitude 4.3 hit 12 minutes after the first one, according to the centre.

The centre said both were aftershocks of the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015. More than 44,000 aftershocks have been recorded since the magnitude-7.8 quake.

People in Kathmandu felt the seismic event, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The reconstruction of thousands of homes, heritage sites and school buildings is still to be completed in Nepal four years after the tragedy, with the government facing criticism for the slow recovery.

A huge funding gap for reconstruction of school buildings has forced thousands of students to study in makeshift structures, The Kathmandu Post reported on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in India, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said the epicenter of the shallow quake at Arunachal Pradesh state was about 40km south-east of Along, and 180km south-west of the state capital Itanagar.

It struck at 1.45am on Wednesday. The USGS revised the magnitude down from 6.1.

Arunachal Pradesh is India’s least densely populated state, but is still home to more than 1.2 million people, according to the state government’s website.

There were no reports of casualties or damage in neighbouring Tibet, with Chinese national seismology authorities saying there were no villages within 20km of the earthquake or towns within a 50km radius.

New Delhi and Beijing for decades have disputed control of Arunachal Pradesh – a dispute that remains unresolved. 

India considers Arunachal Pradesh one of its north-eastern states, while China claims about 90,000 sq km of the territory. 

Arunachal Pradesh also borders Myanmar and Bhutan.

USGS estimated there was a “low likelihood” of casualties and damage from the quake.