It is unlikely any climbers were trying to scale Mount Everest when a 7.3-magnitude temblor struck earthquake-ravaged Nepal on Tuesday, the head of one of the country's main mountaineering organizations told NBC News.
“To my knowledge, there are no trekkers or climbers near or at Everest. Certainly not anyone affiliated with our organization,” said Iswari Paudel, the managing director of Himalayan Guides Nepal, which provides logistical services to foreign tour operators.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported the epicenter of Tuesday's quake was near Everest Base Camp, which was evacuated after the April 25 earthquake sparked an avalanche that killed 18 climbers. Mountaineers trying to climb the world's tallest mountain in the world called off the season after the disaster.
Rescue workers, however, were rushing to the area to discover the extent of the damage caused by the new quake.
“The area where the earthquake hit is in the eastern part of country towards the Mount Everest region,” Richard Ragan, the World Food Programme’s emergency coordinator, told NBC News from Kathmandu. “The initial reports are that structures collapsed, probably structures that were already in disrepair.”
The second quake hit close to where WFP was already setting up aid centers.
“Part of the challenge is that we’re racing against the clock to establish forward bases so we can provide assistance to these very remote areas,” Ragan said.
NBC News' Laura Saravia and Reuters contributed to this report.