1,500 killed in Nepal quake
- A massive earthquake of 7.9 magnitude on the Richter scale and a series of aftershocks hit several parts of Nepal on April 25 morning, leaving over 1,500 people dead and many others injured. Roads and buildings, many of them historic landmarks such as the Dharahara Tower in Kathmandu, were destroyed.
- The government said 1,500 bodies had been recovered. An equal number of people are said to be injured. The death toll is mounting and rescue operations have proved difficult given the mountainous terrain. A clearer estimate of casualties and damage could take days.
- The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicentre was Lamjung district in western Nepal. The quake hit at 11.56 a.m. Nepal Standard Time (11.41 a.m. IST).People took shelter in open spaces, fields, the palace venue and schools. Many foreign tourists are stranded at Thamel.
- The residents of the capital are out on the streets. The government has opened the gates of the Singha Durbar for people to take shelter.
- The Cabinet held an emergency meeting and declared an emergency in the quake-hit areas.
- The most affected districts. besides the three districts of the capital, Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur, are Kavre Gorkha, Nuwakot and Makwanpur in central Nepal and Ramechhap, Okhaldhunga and Bhojpur in the east. Some 40 of the 75 districts have been affected. Tremors through the afternoon lasted as long as 45 seconds. The last strong tremor occurred around 3.15 p.m. local time (3 p.m. IST).
- The Dharahara Tower, in the heart of the capital and built in 1832, collapsed, trapping people. The Kalomochan temple at Thapathali was destroyed, as was the King Mahendra statue at Tripureshwar.
Disaster by earthquake in Nepal
How safe is Uttar Pradesh from quakes?
- Even as the massive tremors shook large parts of Uttar Pradesh, it was the alluvium cover in the Indo-Gangetic Plain, which acted as a cushion and prevented large-scale damage in the State. In geological terms, the State falls in the “safe” zone as the alluvium cover acts a “shock absorber.”
- Since the affect of earthquakes is more on the rocky surfaces, as was evident in the 1991 Uttarkashi and the 1995 earthquake in Chamoli (now in Uttarakhand), its impact was not felt much in Uttar Pradesh.
- But the intensity of Saturday’s tremors have led experts to rethink on how safe is the State from quakes. There is an opinion which says that the magnitude of the tremors could have left an impact on the rocky surface below the alluvium cover. Many are of the view that tremors of this magnitude perhaps visited Uttar Pradesh for the first time in 80 years. “Though Uttar Pradesh is safe, thanks to the rich alluvium surface which acts as a cushion, the possibility of even the shock absorber being shaken by the magnitude of the tremors cannot be ruled out,” said A.R. Bhattacharya, an eminent earth scientist and an expert in Himalayan Geology.
- Professor Bhattacharya said the “faults,” or cracks in the rocky surface below the alluvium cover could have been activated by the magnitude of Saturday’s tremors. The north-western belt seems to have been affected by the high magnitude of the tremors.