12 May 2015

Nepal earthquake: ‘It felt like everything was collapsing’

Three weeks after Nepal’s devastating earthquake, which claimed over 8,000 lives, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake strikes the country. Channel 4 News speaks to one witness.

Pallavi Dhakal was having lunch with friends when the earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.3, struck.

Everyone was screaming. Everything was moving slowly. Pallavi Dhakal

She told Channel 4 News: “The table started to shake and everyone ran out of the restaurant. The area has a lot of tall buildings and we could see everyone running out (of them).

“There was a building by us that is being built and bricks were falling down, At that moment it felt like everything was collapsing.

“I was trying to get away from the buildings while avoiding the bricks. Everyone was screaming. Everything was moving slowly.”

The US Geological survey said the quake struck near Everest base camp at a depth of 19 kilometres. The tremor could be felt as far as the Indian capital New Delhi.

‘Normal life’

It comes less than three weeks after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, killing more than 8,000 people and destroying hundreds of thousands of homes.

The 25 April earthquake was almost six times stronger than Tuesday’s, but the 7.3 magnitude quake has the potential to cause significant damage and landslides. The US Geological Survey’s Rapid Assessment of Earthquake Impact system “significant casualties are likely”.

The Survey estimates around 67,000 people live in an area hit by “severe” shaking from the quake.

Pallavi’s home was one of those damaged in the first earthquake. She said her how first instinct today was to call her family and find out if everyone was safe.

However, it took her an hour to get home as Kathmandu’s narrow roads became jammed with people trying to get back to their families.

Speaking from outside her home – the family is reluctant to go inside – Pallavi told Channel 4 News how life had been returning to normal in the Nepalese capital.

“People had been returning to work, even people with damaged homes. I had returned to work,” she said.

“But now there is a sense of panic once again. After this it will take some time to get back to normal life.”


At least 37 people are reported dead and 981 injured in the latest earthquake. Most of the dead are in villages to the east of Kathmandu, towards the earthquake’s epicentre.

Aid workers reported serious damage to some villages seen from the air and witnesses reported seeing rocks and mud crashing down remote hillsides lined with roads and small hamlets.

Four people are reported to have been killed in Chautara, roughly half way between the earthquake epicentre and Kathmandu, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration said. A man in the neighbouring Indian state of Bihar was also reported to have been killed.

Five died in Sindhupalchowk, the district to the east of Kathmandu that reported the most deaths in the April 25 shaker, district administrator Krishna Gwayali said.

In neighbouring India, at least five people were killed when buildings collapsed.

An aid worker for the Canadian Red Cross filmed the above footage of a landslide in Dhunche, to the north of Kathmandu.

An eyewitness has also reported six people dead in Dolakha district close to the epicentre.

Parents were seen clutching their children in the capital, and shops have closed following the quake.

Politicians fled Nepal’s parliament as tremors hit the building (see video, below).

Dr Pranav Shetty of the International Medical Corps emergency response team in Nepal said: “Everyone is still outside. The local people in Kathmandu are extremely scared to go back in for fear buildings may once again collapse.

“I see many families with young children sitting outside in the very hot sun. Hotel workers are passing out water and biscuits. Our team immediately went to Patan Hospital where we had already been providing medical care to offer their help. Another of our teams is doing a helicopter assessment. Aftershocks are continuing to rattle nerves.”

DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: “We are very concerned about the potential impact of this latest quake on the people of Nepal and on the efforts of our member agencies to respond to the devastating 25 April quake.

“DEC member agencies are now urgently seeking to assess the needs of those worst affected by today’s quake. They are also taking stock of any disruption that may have been caused to existing aid efforts.”

For more information on the DEC Nepal Earthquake Appeal click here.