Volunteer describes second earthquake from Nepal hospital

KATHMANDU VALLEY, Nepal - "At first I felt sort of a gentle swaying," said Andrea Dunne-Sosa, a volunteer with a Virginia-based nonprofit organization, Project HOPE. "Then, all of the sudden, you could feel the room violently shaking. It was a very strong quake that we felt."

Dunne-Sosa was meeting with the head of the Manmohan Memorial Teaching Hospital in the Kathmandu Valley when she felt the first signs of the second earthquake to hit Nepal in just 17 days.

"Patients were falling out of their beds during the quake. All of the oxygen tanks fell over. You could hear people screaming outside. We immediately went downstairs and patients with injuries started arriving within minutes of the second quake," Dunne-Sosa explained.

Siesmologists, the scientists who study earthquakes, believe the 7.3 magnitude quake that struck Nepal around lunchtime on May 12, occurred about 12 miles below the surface. While the quake is still categorized as a "shallow" earthquake, scientists said the deeper the quake, the less damage they tend to cause.
"We totally consider this a shallow earthquake," explained Brian Baptie with British Geological Survey. "The depth is really very similar to the [earthquake] on 25th of April. It occurs on a kind of shallow fault system."

While similar in magnitude, Dunne-Sosa, who is not a seismologist or earthquake researcher, believes that the "energy" of the second earthquake was less disruptive than the first.

"The first one, people told us, violently shook the earth, and tore things apart," Dunne-Sosa said. "The second quake, it was like the energy wasn't as violent. The buildings that were tumbling, were those that were already compromised by the first quake."

At the time of this article, 66 people are dead, and about 1,000 injuries have been reported as a result of Nepal's second earthquake. The first quake killed over 8,000 people and injured tens-of-thousands, leveling out a few remote villages entirely.

Dunne-Sosa said the second earthquake has interrupted Project HOPE's long term plans, which focus on aiding victims past the critical recovery period.  

"As an example, a lot of patients came down from very remote areas [after the first earthquake], and were brought in on a helicopter...Now there are logistic problems," Dunne-Sosa explained. "Figuring out how do we get those folks back home, and when they go home, what are they going home to?"

Ultimately, Project HOPE says monetary donations are best, so they can readily assist in supply needs, which change daily.

Despite the frightening earthquake and the emotional frustration that might come along with such a set-back, Dunne-Sosa said the people of Nepal have been nothing but grateful to see them. 

"You see the emergency response teams from different countries when you're out walking around, and people are constantly saying to us, 'Thank you, thank you for being here, thank you for helping our people,'" Dunne-Sosa said.

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