Los Angeles County Rescue Team Continues Searching in Nepal

A massive, second earthquake brought more damage and deaths to Nepal Tuesday near where members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s urban search and rescue team were already working to help villagers devastated by last month’s 7.8-magnitude temblor.

Members of USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team or DART were in Kathmandu when a 7.3-magnitude quake struck in Namche Bazaar, near the base of Mount Everest.

All those with DART, including the 57 members from Los Angeles County Fire, were safe and accounted for, said Carol Han, who is part of the USAID Nepal response management team.

Tuesday’s quake is considered to be an aftershock to the one on April 25, but the latest temblor was felt in northern India, Tibet and Bangladesh, according to eyewitness and media accounts. Dozens are feared dead just two weeks after more than 8,000 had died after the 7.8 quake left much of the nearby area in rubble.

The DART “were shifting from the rescue phase to recovery, but then right after the aftershock, we shifted gears,” Han said. “The team quickly sprang into action.”

Members of DART began assessing the area by ground and air in coordination with the U.S. military to view the extent of the damage and to find survivors.

The U.S. military is are transporting survivors, although one helicopter was reportedly declared missing.

Other rescue and medical aid workers in the area described precarious conditions leading up to Tuesday’s quake, which caused more buildings to collapse, more landslides and resulted in thousands of injuries, according to several sources.

“The combination of rains and aftershocks now makes our job even more challenging as the roads become highly perilous,” said Martin Faller, head of operations for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Asia Pacific in a statement. “Today’s earthquake has dealt a double blow to many of the same people who were hit by the 25 April quake. More people will now be in need of emergency shelter, but they will also need support dealing with the trauma they have experienced. People are very scared.”

Last month, the Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters helped rescue a teenage boy trapped in rubble in Nepal for five days.

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