The death toll of the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck near the capital city of Kathmandu in Nepal on April 25th has now claimed more than 3,800 victims, making it the deadliest natural disaster to occur in the country in over 80 years. Thousands more have been displaced, and the Nepalese government has requested urgent emergency assistance due to a shortage of resources and mounting difficulties. On Mount Everest, at least 17 were killed, making it the deadliest day in the mountain's history while more than 200 climbers have been rescued. The earthquake and continued aftershocks have resulted in deaths being recorded in the neighboring countries of India, China, and Bangladesh as well.
Centuries-old monuments and UNESCO heritage sites have been irreparably damaged or destroyed including 16th-Century Vatsala Durga, 19th Century 200-step Dharahara tower, and major parts of the historic Durbar Square in the Old City of Kathmandu. Nepali Times editor Kunda Dixit described the resulting destruction as, "culturally speaking an incalculable loss".
The long term relief and recovery effort is estimated by an American consultancy group to cost over $5 billion, amounting to 20% of the country's GDP. Concern is mounting over shortages of basic necessities and shelter for the victims. The UN children's agency reported that nearly a million children are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance. Britain, Australia, India, Pakistan, the US, China, and New Zealand, among other countries, have launched disaster response or assistance efforts in the area. The UK government has pledged £5 million pounds in aid, £3 million of which is intended for immediate ground efforts and £2 million to the British Red Cross. Additional organisations including CARE, the European Commission, IFRC, Doctors without Border, Save the Children, and Handicap International have dispatched relief teams or specialized units.
Countless villages and thousands of structures have been leveled throughout Kathmandu and Nepal. The extent of the destruction is still forthcoming as relief efforts desperately work to address the catastrophe. #Society #Nature