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Minor tremors of 4.2M jolt Nepal again; epicenters in Sindhupalchok and Dolakha

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The aftershocks of the disastrous earthquake, that jolted Nepal last week, continue to shake the country even today. Nepal’s National Seismological Centre recorded two minor quakes early on Saturday with epicenters in Sindhupalchok and Dolakha districts.

Sindhupalchok district tremor, which occurred at 3.55 A.M., measured 4.2 magnitude on the Richter scale, while the second one, felt in Dolakha district at 5.55 A.M., was of 4.3 magnitude, the Himalayan Times quoted.

The death toll of the tragedy has reached 6,624 and more than 14,000 people have been reported to be injured. According to the International Federation of Red Cross, around 40,000 homes have been destroyed in Sindupalchok alone.

Nepal’s remote mountainous areas have suffered “almost total devastation” from the powerful quake and international humanitarian bodies have called for greater urgency in relief efforts.”One of our teams that returned from Chautara in Sindupalchok district reported that 90 per cent of the homes are destroyed.

“Hospitals haves collapsed, and people are digging through the rubble with their hands in the hope that they might find family members who are still alive,” said Jagan Chapagain, Director of Asia Pacific with the IFRC. Including today’s minor tremors, the total number of earthquakes measuring more than four-magnitude on the Richter scale after the April 25 earthquake reached 121, though their frequency has come down, centre chief Lok Bijay Adhikari said.

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9 Climbers Pulled From Snow After A Sudden Storm On Mount Gurja, Nepal

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

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Mount Gurja
Tourists take pictures at Sarangkot in Pokhara, with the view of the Mount Annapurna range in the background, some 200 km (124 miles) west of Kathmandu, Nov. 30, 2008. Annapurna, at 8,091 meters high, is the 10th highest mountain in the world.. VOA

A rescue team Sunday began retrieving the bodies of nine climbers killed in a violent storm on Nepal’s Mount Gurja, a freak accident that has left the mountaineering community reeling.

A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp where the South Korean climbing expedition was staying when powerful winds and snow swept through, killing the entire team and scattering their bodies as far as 500 meters (yards) away.

“All nine bodies have been found and the team are in the process of bringing them down,” said Siddartha Gurung, a chopper pilot who is coordinating the retrieval mission.

Mount Gurja
A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp.

A second helicopter along with a team of rescue specialists and villagers were also involved in the mission, which has been hampered by strong winds as well as the camp’s remoteness in the Dhaulagiri mountain range of Nepal’s Annapurna region.

The bodies of the climbers, five South Koreans and four Nepalis, will be flown to Pokhara, a tourist hub that serves as a gateway to the Annapurna region, and then to Kathmandu, said Yogesh Sapkota of Simrik Air, a helicopter company involved in the effort.

‘Like a bomb went off’

The expedition’s camp was destroyed by the powerful storm, which hit the area late Thursday or Friday, flattening all the tents and leaving a tangled mess of tarpaulin and broken polls.

“Base camp looks like a bomb went off,” said Dan Richards of Global Rescue, a U.S.-based emergency assistance group that will be helping with the retrieval effort.

Mount Gurja
Wangchu Sherpa of Trekking Camp Nepal, organised the expedition

The expedition was led by experienced South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, who has climbed the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen.

Experts puzzled

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

Also Read: Nepal Saves Its Tiger Population, Doubles It

“At this point we don’t understand how this happened. You don’t usually get those sorts of extreme winds at that altitude and base camps are normally chosen because they are safe places,” Richards said.

The team had been on 7,193-meter (23,599-foot) Mount Gurja since early October, hoping to scale the rarely climbed mountain via a new route. (VOA)