Earthquake in Nepal
On Saturday, April 25th, noon had not yet come in Nepal before an estimated 7.8-7.9 magnitude earthquake hit the capital city of Kathmandu. Around 12-22 aftershocks came after the earthquake, the magnitude of the first aftershock being 6.6. The epicenter of the quake was around fifty miles northwest of the capital city, and around fifty miles east of the city Pokhara. Nepal is used to earthquakes, but they have not had an earthquake this big for 81 years.
This earthquake affected Tibet, Bangladesh, Pakistan, northern India, and many avalanches were caused on Mount Everest. Not only did this earthquake destroy many commercial and residential buildings in Kathmandu, it also destroyed many palaces, temples, and tourist attractions. The destruction in the Kathmandu valley is probably much worse, due to the construction materials used in the valley. A state of emergency has been announced for the locations destroyed by the earthquake.
Nepalese officials say that there are approximately 1,832 people dead. In northern India approximately thirty-four people have died, as well as twelve people in Tibet. Around eighteen people died in one of the avalanches on Mount Everest. Around 539 people died in the Kathmandu valley area, and the estimated amount of injured tallied up to 1700 people. In addition to these numbers, 970 people are dead elsewhere in Nepal. However, it is still hard to tell how many have died and been injured. Rescue teams are still working to clear the rubble.
To a New York Times photographer, the earthquake at its start seemed to be just a regular, run-of-the-mill tremor. The quake, however, became much worse. “It was like being on a boat in heavy seas.” said Kanak Mani Dixit to the New York Times when he was describing the quake. People ran out onto the streets in Kathmandu as the destruction began. The earthquake has displaced many of the people in Kathmandu from their homes. There is no power in the city, and most other utilities have been knocked out by the earthquake as well.
The most notable building of historical significance destroyed was the Dharahara Tower. This tower stood nine stories tall. In 1832, the queen of Nepal at the time, decreed that the tower should be built. Only recently were people allowed up in the tower.
The United States, China, India, and Pakistan have responded to Bamdev Gautam’s, the deputy prime minister, asking for help. USAID is providing Nepal with 1 million dollars and a crisis response group. China has sent soldiers to the border of northern Nepal to help clear the destruction. Hopefully Nepal will be back on its feet soon.