Powerful Quake That Changed Nepal’s Geography

In the early hours of 25th April, 2015 a 7.9 magnitude earthquake battered the mountainous nation of Nepal, killing and injuring thousands of people, destroying entire villages, and shattering down many treasured historic landmarks.

The nation which comprised more or less 27 million people, was in a political and economic disarray, before the powerful earthquake shook Nepal and brought huge-scale devastation. The natural disaster which struck Nepal on 25th April, 2015 seemed to complicate the attempts to repair the rifts which was the result of political war, crisis, and political paralysis.

This earthquake has been claimed to be the largest of the kind the country has ever experienced, in the last 80 years. According to the reports published by the United States Geological Survey, it stated that the Nepal quake “occurred as the result of thrust faulting on or near the main frontal thrust between the subducting India plate and the overriding Eurasia plate to the north.”

The earthquake which struck Nepal on 25th April , 2015 occurred almost in the midway between the cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara, at the depth of 15 km. The earthquake with its epicenter at Lamjung, which is located around 80 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu left an impact in its neighboring countries as well.

The impact was also felt in China, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Some North-Indian states also felt the impact of the powerful quake.

The earthquake struck around 11:56 am which was followed by a series of aftershocks. As aftershocks continued throughout Saturday, the toll was expected to rise significantly as the scale of the disaster became clear. Another massive earthquake struck Nepal on Sunday (26th April) measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale. Fresh aftershocks continued to cause panic among the people of Nepal and lead them to spend nights in the open.

As if the disaster was not enough, Mother Nature also brought her wrath on the people by making the rescue operations go slow due to heavy showers.

Four days after the quake, the death toll was around 4,310 and it was expected to rise, as rescue operations were still going on to hunt down for more bodies under the collapsed buildings. Remote villages near the epicenter of the quake suffered the most. Many areas could not be reached, as the roads got blocked with mud and boulders.

Rescue workers and local people swung into immediate action in order to find and help those who were trapped beneath the rubble. The Nepal Army along with Indian Air Force worked hard, to speed up their rescue operation.

Historic buildings and temples were destroyed, leaving massive piles of debris on the streets. Kathmandu’s Basantapur Darbar Square, which got recognition from UNESCO as World Heritage Site, was completely damaged by the earthquake and was reduced to a rubble. The quake also destroyed the centuries-old landmark – Dharhara Tower that stood in the heart of the capital was reduced to a stump that trapped and killed scores of people. While the massive earthquake had flattened several centuries-old structures in Nepal, the Pashupatinath Temple suffered only slight damages. Apart from that several other buildings were destroyed.

Within minutes of the earthquake, the Government of India, with the help of the Indian Armed Forces(IAF), launched Operation Maitri; a mission with the aim of providing relief and carrying out rescue operations in Nepal. Other nations like China, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Israel, and other nations also extended their help. Katmandu’s airport got so overloaded by aid and passenger planes that, incoming flights sat for hours on the runway.

The view of the deadly aftermath of Nepal’s quake from a satellite image showed that “a broad swath of ground near Kathmandu lifted vertically, by about 3 feet (1 meter)”. The report also showed that the regions around Mount Everest and other tall peaks in the area dropped down by about one inch.

The latest reports till last week more than 8,000 people have been killed by the deadly quake and the subsequent avalanches which triggered in the Everest. More casualties were reported from Pokhra.

Nepal’s Prime Minister, Sushil Koirala said that the number could reach 10,000. According to the country’s Emergency Operation Centre, over thousand’s of people have been injured.

A post by Soumi Biswas. 15th May, 2015.


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