Nepal’s second major earthquake in weeks sets back recovery

Another earthquake in Nepal has killed dozens so far, adding to the thousands of casualties from a major quake just a few weeks ago. John Sparks of Independent Television News reports on the physical and psychological blows to a country that was already struggling to recover.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    In Nepal, a U.S. military helicopter carrying six Marines and two Nepalese soldiers has been declared missing. The aircraft is believed to have gone down while ferrying supplies to earthquake victims.

    This news comes in the wake of another devastating quake today, which killed dozens of people in addition to the already thousands killed a few weeks ago.

    John Sparks of Independent Television News reports.

  • JOHN SPARKS:

    They were debating a bill in parliament when the earthquake struck. Measuring 7.3, it shook the chamber floor and house members and their staff fled for the exits.

    They joined their fellow citizens pouring out onto the streets and alleyways of the Nepalese capital, an instinctive act, this, a bid for survival, and they had every reason to feel scared for themselves and their loved ones.

    SUNITA MANANDHAR, Hotel employee: I'm trying to call to my room. I'm worried for my family.

  • JOHN SPARKS:

    They have been here before; 17 days ago, a powerful quake ripped through central Nepal, toppling buildings and claiming the lives of more than 8,000. Some thought this gate was about to come down on them, the community terrorized for a second time.

    The epicenter of this quake was located 50 miles to the east, but the seismic waves were strong enough to topple this five-story structure in the capital. And, inevitably, there have been casualties. The authorities says dozens of people have died and more than 1,100 have been injured.

    At an emergency cabinet meeting tonight, the prime minister begged the international community not to abandon Nepal.

  • SUSHIL KOIRALA, Prime Minister, Nepal (through interpreter):

    I urge all those who have worked tirelessly on the relief and rescue missions to once again extend your helping hand.

  • JOHN SPARKS:

    And the need is great. Today's earthquake set off avalanches and landslides, multiple rockfalls blocking roads and destroying villages in areas already damaged by the first quake.

    The government says it has sent out helicopters to help, but it's a process that's going to take time. Nepal was starting to put itself together again, but the normal routines will have to wait; 6,000 people are expected to sleep under canvas at this spot in Kathmandu tonight, because they do not feel safe indoors. It is a cruel setback, a psychological blow after several weeks of hardship.

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