26 May The earthquake April 25th
The earthquake on April 25th measuring 7.8 magnitude, the country’s biggest in 80 years, struck 50 miles northwest of Kathmandu leaving over 7500 people dead, 16,000 injured, at least 284,000 homes completely destroyed and at least 234,000 homes, damaged. The loss in human lives, injuries, loss of people’s homes, food stock in these remote and inaccessible hills and the way some of the ancient temples and stupa’s in the World Heritage Sites have been flattened, all comes at a great loss to this nation, already struggling to come out of decades of poverty.
The epicentre of the earthquake was around Barpak and Laprak villages and followed a narrow eastward path from Gorkha. Districts such as Rasuwa (Langtang), Nuwakot, Dhading, Kathmandu, Sindhupalchowk and Solukhumbu towards the end suffered severe impacts, while regions just 15-20 km west of the epicentre looked relatively normal post the 7.8 magnitude earthquake. The second huge earthquake of 7.4 magnitude that occurred within three weeks of the first one, also killed more people and destroyed remaining villages in Dolkha and Sindupalchowk.
For a nation already suffering from decades of economic trouble, the challenge now starts post earthquake for rehabilitation and rebuilding. Nepal’s Government estimates economic losses could be as much as USD10bn, half the value of Nepal’s economy and more than half a million people in this area are in immediate need of shelter. IHS estimates rebuilding costs to be at least USD5bn in a country where economic growth has been suffering for the last decade with an unemployment rate of more than 40 percent and a reliance on agriculture and tourism to support its $19bn economy. Without doubt, Nepal requires both financial and technical assistance just to get its economy to where it was before the earthquake, on April the 25th.
The mountains are weeping, as the earth beneath has shifted, leaving thousands of people dead or homeless. However, the Nepalese are know for their strength and self-reliance, their equanimity, friendliness and spiritually. While everyone prays for the souls of the departed and the hundreds of villages with traditional stone houses, built with their own hands, remain flattened, they seek refuge under temporary tarps or some in far away villages in even worse off conditions with the fear of the monsoon around the corner.
But what was built by hand can be rebuilt in the same way and that is exactly what they are doing. All we need to do is to lend the hardworking, resilient, friendly and smiling Nepalese a helping hand