KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) -- A major earthquake hit a remote mountain region of Nepal on Tuesday, triggering landslides and toppling buildings less than three weeks after the Himalayan nation was ravaged by its worst quake in decades.

The magnitude-7.3 quake hit hardest in districts northeast of the capital and terrified a nation already shell-shocked and struggling after a more powerful quake on April 25 killed more than 8,150 and flattened entire villages, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

Information was slow to reach Kathmandu after Tuesday's quake, but officials and aid workers said they expected the death toll to rise. Within a few hours, the Home Ministry confirmed that at least 42 people had been killed and at least 1,117 injured.

Meanwhile, it said rescuers had managed to pull three people to safety in the capital, while another nine were rescued in the district of Dolkha.

Rescue helicopters were sent to mountain districts where landslides and collapsed buildings may have buried people, the government said. Home Ministry official Laxmi Dhakal said the Sindhupalchowk and Dolkha districts were the hardest hit.

Search parties fanned out to look for survivors in the wreckage of collapsed buildings in Sindhulpalchowk's town of Chautara, which has become a hub for humanitarian aid since the magnitude-7.8 quake on April 25 - Nepal's worst recorded earthquake since 1934.

Tuesday's quake was deeper, however, coming from a depth of 18.5 kilometers (11.5 miles) versus the earlier one at 15 kilometers (9.3 miles). Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage.

The Tuesday quake was followed closely by at least eight strong aftershocks, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

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