Apr 282015
 

Searching for survivors in Kathmandu: rescuers have only just started to reach the districts

Searching for survivors in Kathmandu: rescuers have only just started to reach the districts

The tragedy that has hit Nepal is still hard to fathom. The loss of life, the injuries, the terror under the endless aftershocks, the destruction of homes, public buildings and centuries of cultural heritage… On the night of the quake on 25 april, we wrote on facebook: “Our thoughts and heart-felt condolences go out to all those whose lives were struck by tragedy today. Maybe Nepal will eventually recover from this – but the way it feels right now, it will never be the same… Lots of prayers that no more tremors will strike tonight.” However, the tremors and aftershocks still go on, predicted to continue at least for a week, maybe even months. Meanwhile, the full scope of loss of life, injuries and physical destruction outside Kathmandu valley remains unknown.

Source: http://earthquake-report.com/2015/04/25/massive-earthquake-nepal-on-april-25-2015/

Source: http://earthquake-report.com/2015/04/25/massive-earthquake-nepal-on-april-25-2015/

It is known that the worst affected districts include Sindulpalchowk, Kavre, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Dolakha in the central region and Kaski, Gorkha, Lamjung in the western region. But also Dhading is badly hit. Just now, an official report reveals the preliminary impact in the districts: see map opposite. It’s certain that temples and cultural monuments have been fully or partially destroyed in a host of districts, including Manakamana Temple in Gorkha, Gorkha Durbar, Palanchowk Bhagwati in Kavre, Rani Mahal in Palpa District, Janaki Mandir in Janakpur, Churiyamai in Makwanpur District, Dolakha Bhimsensthan in Dolakha, and the Nuwakot Durbar. But how many lives are lost in the districts is yet to be seen.

Local devastation starting to emerge: first helicopter phootage from epicenter.

Earthquake-report.com – bringing updates every hour – posted on day two: “Important Update 12:47 UTC: We try to keep you informed about the areas outside Kathmandu, but except for the Everest area where international climbers are active there is almost NO NEWS to gather. We are really ashamed about this but this is life as it is in 2015. Additionally cruel in this case is that the hardest hit Gorkha-Lamjung epicenter area has only been visited by helicopter this morning. We have however NO news from this area. At least hundreds are feared dead in this mountainous area of Nepal.” Only next day, news started to come in with a bit more information, but the situation in countless of villages off the main roads is unknown. Rescuers are only starting to find out.

Bharbak village in Gorkha district

Bharbak village in Gorkha district

Monday at 11.15 a.m. (0530 GMT), AP wrote: “Fears are growing that thousands of people may remain cut off in isolated, devastated mountain villages. Udav Prashad Timalsina, the top official for the Gorkha district where Saturday’s quake was centered, says he is in desperate need of help: ‘Things are really bad in the district, especially in remote mountain villages. There are people who are not getting food and shelter. I have had reports of villages where 70 percent of the houses have been destroyed. We have been calling for help, but we haven’t received enough from the central government… 223 people are confirmed dead in the district but the number will go up because there are thousands who are injured.’ That was the report from Gorkha – lots still unknown.

Rescued: army helicopter back to base

Rescued: army helicopter back to base

11.20 a.m. (0540 GMT): “Jagdish Pokhrel, the clearly exhausted army spokesman, says nearly the entire 100,000-soldier army is involved in rescue operations. ’90 percent of the army’s out there working on search and rescue. We are focusing our efforts on that, on saving lives.'” 11.45 a.m. (0600 GMT): “There’s a lot that the world still doesn’t really know about the Nepal quake. The key thing is this: How significant is the destruction in Gorkha district, 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the capital and the location of the quake’s epicenter? Roads to the area, difficult on good days, are damaged. Learning about the level of destruction and human toll in the vulnerable mountain villages there could change the whole picture.” At the time of writing, devastation east of Kathmandu may be even higher. Officials have so far counted a high deathtoll up in Rasuwa too.

Cascade of aftershocks: size of bullet varies with strength of tremor

Cascade of aftershocks: size of bullet varies with strength of tremor

Anne Digby emailed us from Dhading Monday morning: “The news from Dhading is not good – almost every house is completely destroyed. It was at the epicentre of the earthquake and Gorkha is the same. Luckily it was in the middle of the day so many people were in the fields and not as many were killed as in Kathmandu. Sorry I couldn’t give you better news. It’s so difficult – especially being so far away.” Menuka Neupane is with a Danish NGO in Rupandehi and reported yesterday: “In my area there was a very big earth quake… One of my sisters’ house is destroyed. So in Rupandehi almost all people are staying in the field, not in the house… Luckily we have not lost anyone but on my relatives’ side some people are dead and their houses are also destroyed.”

Rescue team near Pokhara: what will they find - scope of local tragedy still to emerge

Rescue team near Pokhara: what will they find – scope of local tragedy still to emerge

Is the loss of life and property in the Hills and Mountains within 50 to 100 kms of the epicenter going to rise? Crucially, will help reach in time? While the death-toll in Kathmandu is still rising and the full scope of the destruction in the capital is only now becoming clear, a different matter is the impact out in the districts. US, China, India, and other countries sending in relief aid have started to go outside Kathmandu. What will they find? Well, one village in Gorkha – Bharbak – is almost completely levelled, and one thing is certain where such destruction has hit. For those burried in the rubble – and those seriously injured – it may be too late. As they write on earthquake-report.com: “Over and over we have to write that earthquake response always comes far TOO LATE. Why? The first 3 days after the mainshock are the GOLDEN 72 HOURS – After these days the chance to get people alive from below the rubble goes down to almost 0.” Prayers that help reaches in time.

Last update from Kavre just in: “I’m in Kavre district, 25 miles outside Kathmandu. 100,000 homeless, hospitals down to last 8 hours generator fuel.” @jason_burke

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