An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 hit the country of Nepal on Saturday, April 25 at 11:56 a.m. GMT. By Monday, April 27 the total death toll reached over 3,700 people, with an estimated 6,500 people injured.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the center of the earthquake was near Lamjung, which is located 50 miles northwest of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. This has been the biggest earthquake Nepal has had in over 80 years. On the day it hit, a police spokesman said that within the Kathmandu Valley, 634 people had been found dead with at least 300 more dead in the capital itself. Because there are other remote villages that have not received relief since the earthquake on Saturday, the death toll is expected to increase.
This natural disaster not only affected the Kathmandu valley area, but also a base in Mount Everest, where Madison Mountaineering states that a “huge block of ice” was dislodged, causing an avalanche. Around 1,000 climbers were present at the base and, so far, at least 17 people were killed by the avalanche and 61 have been reported injured. Among those who died were Google executive Dan Fredinburg and Marisa Eve Girawong, a doctor for Madison Mountaineering’s US base.
Other countries were also affected by the earthquake, such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and China’s region of Tibet. 61 people were counted dead in India and 25 people were killed in Tibet. The damage to Kathmandu is severe. There have been several aftershocks, leaving the Nepalese who have been displaced fearful of continuous damage and injury. The largest aftershock (at a magnitude of 6.7) occurred on Sunday, April 26, and four large aftershocks followed throughout the night and into Monday morning. According to Ek Narayan Aryal, Kathmandu’s chief administrator, “There have been nearly 100 earthquakes and aftershocks, which is making rescue work difficult. Even the rescuers are scared and running because of them.”
Despite being influenced by the earthquake, India, China, and Pakistan were the first nations to respond with efforts of relief for Nepal, with military cargo planes landing in the small Kathmandu airport. However, it has been difficult for the airport to deal with both relief and civilian planes coming in.
About $70,000 in supplies has been sent from the United States Department of Defense, along with 45 tons of cargo and 70 personnel including a USAID disaster response team, the Fairfax County urban search and rescue team, and several journalists. According to Aryal, tents and water were distributed to the homeless on Monday in 10 different locations within Kathmandu.
The government of Kathmandu has declared a weeklong period of recovery, for although there are groups assisting in relief, there are still shortages of food and water and the sick and injured are not in ideal environments to get well.
Reporter Thomas Bell states,“Despite the turmoil at the airport, more aid is arriving. The difficulties are great. The coming hours and days are the critical time to put all this expertise, resources and experience into action. ... It is in the aftermath of such a disaster that the worst crisis can arise.”