Disaster Management

Nepal Earthquake

Facts

The April 2015 Nepal earthquake (also known as the Gorkha earthquake) occurred at 11:56 NST on 25 April. Its epicenter was east of the district of Lamjung, and its hypocenter was at a depth of approximately 15 km (9.3 mi). It was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal since the 1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake.

Plate Boundary Map

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Nepal lies towards the southern limit of the diffuse collisional boundary where the Indian Plate underthrusts the Eurasian Plate, occupying the central sector of the Himalayan arc, nearly one-third of the 2,400 km (1,500 mi) long Himalayas. Geologically, the Nepal Himalayas are sub-divided into five tectonic zones from north to south, east to west and almost parallel to sub-parallel. These five distinct morpho-geotectonic zones are: (1) Terai Plain, (2) Sub Himalaya (Sivalik Range), (3) Lesser Himalaya (Mahabharat Range and mid valleys), (4) Higher Himalaya, and (5) Inner Himalaya (Tibetan Tethys). Each of these zones is clearly identified by their morphological, geological, and tectonic features.


The convergence rate between the plates in central Nepal is about 45 mm (1.8 in) per year. The location, magnitude, and focal mechanism of the earthquake suggest that it was caused by a slip along the Main Frontal Thrust.

Destruction and Casualties suffered

Casualties

The earthquake killed more than 8,800 people and injured more than 23,000. The rural death toll may have been lower than it would have been as the villagers were outdoors, working when the quake hit. As of 15 May, 6,271 people, including 1,700 from the 12 May aftershock, were still receiving treatment for their injuries. More than 450,000 people were displaced.

Before the earthquake

Dharahara Tower and Kathmandu Durbar Square before the earthquake.
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Destruction after the earthquake

Dharahara Tower and Kathmandu Durbar Square after the earthquake.
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Rescue and Relief

Rescue teams

About 90 percent of soldiers from the Nepalese Army were sent to the stricken areas in the aftermath of the earthquake under Operation Sankat Mochan, with volunteers mobilized from other parts of the country. Rainfall and aftershocks were factors complicating the rescue efforts, with potential secondary effects like additional landslides and further building collapses being concerns. Impassable roads and damaged communications infrastructure posed substantial challenges to rescue efforts. Survivors were found up to a week after the earthquake.
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As of 1 May 2015, international aid agencies like Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and the Red Cross were able to start medically evacuating the critically wounded by helicopter from outlying areas, initially cut-off from the capital city, Kathmandu, and treating others in mobile and makeshift facilities.

International aid

UNICEF appealed for donations, as close to 1.7 million children had been driven out into the open, and were in desperate need of drinking water, psychological counsel, temporary shelters, sanitation and protection from disease outbreak. It distributed water, tents, hygiene kits, water purification tablets and buckets. Numerous other organizations provided similar support.

Disaster Management - Measures taken

India was the first to send in aid, with supplies starting within hours of the quake. Operating at the very epicentre of the earthquake, Indian Air Force choppers have rescued many hundreds in sorties from the worst-affected districts. India has also set up a field hospital in Kathmandu and sent in its engineers to WORK on restoring road connectivity.


Mobile hospitals have been transported to Nepal, and NDRF teams are at work. IAF aircraft also carried blankets, tents, tonnes of food, paramedics, stretches, and medicines.


Ensuring power & fuel supply: The government had sent teams of senior executives and engineers from state-run energy companies to Nepal with a view to ensure uninterrupted fuel supply and restore power lines.