Earthquake in Nepal

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Earthquake in Nepal

Postby ReptilianKittenEater » Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:23 pm

Last time I was there I was watching a high rise building being constructed and remember thinking the next time a tremor hits the whole city is going to collapse. They were doing everything, including mixing concrete, by hand.

Earthquake in Nepal Kills Hundreds and Levels Buildings


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Earthquake Strikes Near Nepal’s Capital

Earthquake Strikes Near Nepal’s Capital

CreditNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters

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NEW DELHI — An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.8 shook Nepal on Saturday near its capital, Katmandu, flattening sections of the city’s historic center and trapping sightseers in a 200-foot tower that crumbled into a pile of bricks. People in the capital described scenes of panic and collapsed buildings, and the United States Geological Survey predicted severe damage to villages near the quake’s epicenter, about 50 miles from Katmandu.

A spokesperson for Nepal’s Home Ministry, Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, said that the preliminary death toll stood at 686, nearly all in the valley around Katmandu, and that thousands of people had been injured. Trekkers reported a major avalanche on Mount Everest, where two people were reported dead, according to tourism officials. In addition, 34 deaths had been reported in India.

Residents of Katmandu ran into the streets and other open spaces as buildings fell, throwing up clouds of dust, and wide cracks opened on paved streets and the walls of city buildings. Overflowing hospitals were treating injured patients on the street, and Nepal’s leading television station, its studios crushed, was broadcasting from the pavement outside.

By midafternoon the United States Geological Survey had counted 12 aftershocks, one of which measured at a magnitude of 6.6.

Kanak Mani Dixit, a Nepali political commentator, said he was having lunch with his parents when the quake struck. The rolling was so intense and long-lasting that he had trouble getting to his feet, he said. He helped his father and an elderly neighbor to safety in the garden outside and then had to carry his elderly mother.

“And I had time to do all that while the quake was still going on,” Mr. Dixit said. “It was like being on a boat in heavy seas.”

The nine-story Dharahara Tower, which was built in 1832 as a watchtower on the orders of the queen, collapsed, Mr. Dixit said. Witnesses there said more than 200 people had bought tickets to climb up to a viewing platform on the eighth story, and that several dozen were likely to have been on the platform when the earthquake hit. “Scores probably died in this place,” Mr. Dixit said.

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Epicenter of earthquake

with an estimated

magnitude of 7.8


Smaller quakes in

the hours afterward


Mount Everest




100 miles

By The New York Times; satellite image by NASA/U.S.G.S. Landsat via Google Earth
Joydeb Chakravarty, managing director of the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in Nepal, said he was grocery shopping when the quake struck. “And suddenly, everything started collapsing around us,” Mr. Chakravarty said. “The shelves all came down, the food items all crashed down. We were barely able to get out the emergency exit.”

Seismologists have long feared a big earthquake in western Nepal, where there is pent-up pressure between tectonic plates grinding up against one another. Though there have been a series of earhquakes in the region over the last century, none resulted in a full release of seismic energy, said Ganesh K. Bhattari, a Nepali expert on earthquakes now living in Denmark.

Many worried that there would be vast loss of life in urban areas, where multistory concrete buildings have been hurriedly erected in recent years. But Saturday’s earthquake may prove less devastating than feared, because it struck during the afternoon when schools were not in session. Building collapses in Katmandu appeared largely confined to brick structures in the city’s historic area, rather than concrete high-rise buildings.


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Photographs posted on social media showed people digging in the debris of collapsed structures. Kashish Das Shrestha, a photographer, said people had been trapped in the rubble and could be heard crying out as rescuers tried to make their way into buildings.

“Everywhere there are people on the streets, people crying, people stuck in rubble, people trying to help,” Mr. Shrestha said.

He described severe damage to parts of the palace complex in Vasanthapura Square, the site of palaces and temples that date to the 11th century. The old section of the city is a warren of narrow lanes and historic structures.

“Oh my God, the entire Vasansthapura is in rubble,” Mr. Shrestha said. Hospitals in Katmandu were reporting the arrival of patients with broken limbs.

For hours after the earthquake, many in the city remained sitting in the road, afraid to go back indoors. Many residents said they would spend the night outside, despite the cold and darkness.

The earthquake set off avalanches on Mount Everest, where several hundred trekkers were attempting an ascent, according to climbers there. Via Twitter, Alex Gavan, a hiker at base camp, described, “huge earthquake then huge avalanche,” and “running for life from my tent.” Nima Namgyal Sherpa, a tour guide at base camp, described one avalanche as “huge” and said it had caused many injuries.

“Many camps have been destroyed by the shake and wind from the avalanche,” Mr. Sherpa, the base camp manager for Asian Treks, wrote in a post on Facebook. “All the doctors here are doing our best to treat and save lives.”

Two people died on Mount Everest after the earthquake, and another eight people have been badly injured, said Tulasi Prasad Gautam, an official in the state tourism department.

Tremors from the quake were felt across northern India, rattling bookcases and light fixtures as far away as Delhi. Electricity was switched off for safety reasons in the state of Bihar, where three deaths were reported in one district, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, India’s minister of skill development, told reporters in New Delhi. Two other deaths were reported in a second nearby district.

Historically, the region has been the site of the largest earthquakes in the Himalayas. A 2005 earthquake in Kashmir and a 1905 earthquake in Kangra resulted in a death toll of more than 100,000 people, according to the United States Geological Survey.
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