Rescue teams working to recover bodies after second Nepal quake

Nepal's govt is battling with patchy phone lines to gather information on the extent of the destruction.

Nepalese rescue members and onlookers gather at the collapsed Darahara Tower in Kathmandu on April 25, 2015. A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive damage in the capital Kathmandu with strong tremors felt across neighbouring countries. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Nepal's government is struggling with patchy phone lines to gather information on the extent of the destruction in the wake of the latest earthquake.

Rescue teams are working to recover bodies and treat the hundreds of people injured in this morning's 7.3 magnitude quake just weeks after the massive tremor that killed almost 8,000.

The fresh 7.3-magnitude earthquake killed more than two dozen people in the Himalayan country and neighbouring states, as many buildings already weakened by a much bigger quake last month were brought down.

The earthquake was centred 68 kilometres west of the town of Namche Bazaar, close to Mount Everest and the border with Tibet, the US Geological Survey said.

It could be felt as far away as northern India and Bangladesh.

There is no official death toll from the latest quake but the Nepalese government says there are scores of casualties.

Journalist Bhrikuti Rai says rescue operations are underway in Kathmandu.

"Eight people have already been rescued from Kathmandu."

She says life had just got back to normal when the second quake struck.

FRESH NEPAL EARTHQUAKE KILLS DOZENS, TRIGGERS PANIC

Buildings swayed in New Delhi, sending office workers scurrying on to the streets.

Residents in the Indian town of Siliguri, near the border with Nepal, said chunks of concrete fell off one or two buildings.

Nepal's home ministry said the death toll from the quake had reached 19, with 981 injured.

Five people were killed in Indian states bordering Nepal - one in Uttar Pradesh and four in Bihar, officials said, and Chinese media reported one person died in Tibet after rocks fell on a car.

Clean-up operations underway in Nepal. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

Nepal is still picking up the pieces from the devastation caused by last month's 7.8-magnitude earthquake, the country's worst in more than 80 years, which killed 8,046 people and injured more than 17,800.

Hundreds of thousands of buildings, including many ancient sites, were destroyed and many more damaged.

Mountaineers seeking to scale the world's tallest peak have called off this year's Everest season after 18 people died when last month's quake triggered avalanches on the mountain.

Dambar Parajuli, president of Expedition Operators' Association of Nepal, said there were no climbers or Nepali sherpa guides at the Base Camp.

"All of them have already left," Parajuli said.

Stray dogs are everywhere in the wreckage. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

In Lukla, the departure point for treks to Everest, buildings cracked and small landslides were triggered when the ground shook.

Locals said three teenage school students were injured.

Susana Perez from Madrid was on a 10-day trek with her husband to Island Peak in the Everest region and was about to reach Lukla.

"We saw the mountain in front of us fall down - earth and rocks. There were some houses underneath but it was not clear if they were hit," Perez said.

In Kathmandu, people panicked and rushed outdoors when the tremors began around 12:30, Reuters witnesses said. The quake was followed by at least half a dozen aftershocks, including one as big as 6.3.

Parents could be seen clutching children tightly, and hundreds of people were frantically trying to call relatives on their mobile phones.

Shopkeepers closed their shops and the streets were jammed with people rushing to check on their families.

"I'm heading straight home," said Bishal Rai, a man in his 20s, who said he was trying to contact his family in the north of the capital.

Additional reporting by Reuters.