Nepal earthquake: The story so far

Key points:

A powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, causing extensive damage in the capital Kathmandu and neighbouring cities with a death toll at the time of writing of more than 3,700.

The earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, which swept away several base camps and killed 18 people.

The Nepalese government has declared a state of emergency and requested international assistance.

At approximately 11:56 local time on April 25, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck central Nepal. The earthquake occurred at a shallow depth between 10 to 15km according to the USGS. The epicentre was located 77km northwest of Nepal’s capital city Kathmandu. Several dozen aftershocks followed the main event, the largest of which  was a magnitude 6.7 northeast of Kathmandu on April 26th.

The shallow earthquake depth coupled with the large magnitude resulted in high intensity ground shaking over a very large area (approximately ~75,000 square km around the epicentre). The affected countries include Nepal, India, China and Bangladesh.

Some images of the destruction caused by the Nepal earthquake. Source: Google

Some images of the destruction caused by the Nepal earthquake. Source: Google

 

At the time of writing, the international media report a death toll of at least 3,700. Mostly caused due to collapsed structures. Search and rescue is on-going. The Government of Nepal (GoN) has declared a state of emergency for earthquake affected areas and requested international assistance. GoN-identified priority needs include search-and-rescue capacity, medical assistance, rubble-removal equipment, and logistical support for transport to difficult-to-access areas, according to the UN.

Damage:

The earthquake has caused extensive region wide damage to several cities in Nepal including the districts Lamjung, Gorkha and around the Kathmandu region. Initial observations in Kathmandu by locals and reported on social media, claim that about 20 percent of all buildings in Kathmandu were damaged or destroyed. The earthquake also damaged roads and other public infrastructure.

Earthquake shaking intensity map.  Source: USGS

Earthquake shaking intensity map.
Source: USGS

Avalanche on Everest:

The high intensity earthquake shaking triggered an avalanche on the slopes of Mount Everest. The avalanche swept away and completely destroyed part of the Everest base camp. The popular route through the Khumbu ice fall was blocked trapping climbers further up at camps 1 and 2. Initially reports arrived of dozens of missing and trapped climbers. 18 people were killed and evacuations are under way to bring all other climbers back down from the mountain.

Written by Ekbal Hussain

More information:
[1] http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us20002926#general_summary
[2] http://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2015/apr/27/nepal-earthquake-rescue-efforts-thousands-seek-shelter-rolling-report
[3] Twitter on the #NepalQuake hash tag
[4] Nepal earthquake People Finder: http://google.org/personfinder/2015-nepal-earthquake

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