Just three weeks after a major earthquake struck Nepal, killing over 8,000, another 7.3 tremor has struck and so far killed at least 42 and injured over 1,000.
The earthquake struck east of Kathmandu near Mount Everest, hitting the Dolakha and Sindhupalchowk districts, both of which were among the worst-affected areas during last month's earthquake, Indian Express reports. Nepal's Home Ministry is in the process of responding, and the National Response Disaster Force (NDRF) has been kept on alert.
The new quake has forced the closure of the Kathmandu airport, the Straits Times reports.
"The airport is closed for operations right now," Birendra Prasad Shrestha, manager at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport, told AFP.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the two earthquakes are likely part of a chain reaction caused when the April quake weakened other fractures in the earth's crust. There have been nearly 100 magnitude 3 or higher aftershocks since April's earthquake, and this latest tremor has so far touched off six aftershocks.
The April earthquake damaged many of the historic sites in the Kathmandu Valley, collapsing the landmark Bhimsen Tower. Pashupatinath, the most important Hindu shrine in the country, also suffered partial damage, and the historic towns of Bhaktapur and Pathan both suffered heavy damage.
In early May the Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO) released a statement to encourage the return of tourism to the region, spotlighting travel's importance to Nepal's economy.
Tourism in Nepal is one of the pillars of the economy, NATO said. Many tourists spend directly in the rural areas, avoiding the classic "trickledown" effect.
"The destroyed monuments and cultural sites around the Kathmandu Valley and elsewhere need to be rebuilt, and this will provide employment and create a resurgence in traditional building methods," said Ashok Pokharel, president of NATO. "Therefore, we encourage travelers to come back to Nepal when a suitable time has lapsed for the injured to the treated, the mourning to be completed and the debris to be cleared."
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