Offering maitri bhavana for Nepal and all those affected. Two major earthquakes hit the centre of Nepal, on April 25, 70 km from Kathmandu, 7.8 and 6.6 Richter scale, half hour apart, and a ‘”seemingly endless series of aftershocks” average 4.5 Richter scale.
The death toll from the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday has risen to more than 2,500. More than 5,000 people have been injured. Powerful aftershocks today between Kathmandu and Everest unleashed more avalanches in the Himalayas and caused panic in the capital, where hospital workers stretchered patients out into the street as it was too dangerous treat them indoors.
- At least 17 people believed to have been killed on Everest, and 61 injured, by an avalanche which left mountaineers calling for helicopter assistance to evacuate the most badly wounded.
- The UK government has announced that it will donate £5m to help the rescue effort in Nepal.
- A state of emergency has been declared Many historic landmarks, including the Dharahara tower, have been reduced to rubble following the quake.
- Governments are scrambling to locate thousands of their nationals and relatives took to social media to find their loved ones.
- The international community has also pledged support and aid packages to Nepal. The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has said the US will pledge $1m to the aid effort and will also assist with a disaster response team. Australia has also pledged a Aus$5m aid package, while India, Sri Lanka, the UK, China and others are all sending disaster response teams to assist in search and rescue.
- Pope Francis led prayers in St Peter’s Square for the dead, displaced and injured in Nepal and surrounding areas.
- Weather reports suggested that survivors of the quake – who are sleeping outside because of fear of unsafe building – will face heavy downpours in the next week.
- The quakes caused widespread damage to Nepal’s infrastructure which has further hampered search and rescue operations. Injured climbers at Mount Everest, where an avalanche struck following the quake, have been flown by helicopter to receive medical treatment.
Reuters have this report on how doctors are having to operate on injured victims of the quake in the streets because of fear of reentering unsafe buildings:
Overwhelmed doctors moved hundreds of patients onto the streets of Nepal’s capital on Sunday when aftershocks rattled hospitals and buildings already damaged by an earthquake that killed more than 2,400 people and devastated Kathmandu valley.
Sick and wounded people lay on a dusty road outside Kathmandu Medical College while hospital workers carried more patients out of the building on stretchers and sacks.
Doctors set up an operating theatre inside a tent and rushed in the most critical, following a particularly big tremor that sent people running terrified into the streets.
The aftershock, itself a strong 6.7 magnitude quake, triggered more avalanches in the Himalayas after Saturday’s 7.9 quake – which unleashed Everest’s worst disaster and was the strongest since 1934 when 8,500 people were killed.
Outside the National Trauma Centre in Kathmandu, patients in wheelchairs who had been under treatment before the earthquake hit joined hundreds of injured with fractured and bloody limbs, who lay inside tents made from hospital sheets.
“We only have one operation theatre here. To be able to provide immediate treatment we require 15 theatres. I am just not able to cope,” said Dipendra Pandey, an orthopaedic surgeon, adding he had done 36 critical operations since Saturday.
Relief agencies and officials said most hospitals were overflowing and short on medical supplies.
“Both private and government hospitals have run out of space and are treating patients outside, in the open,” said Nepal’s envoy to India, Deep Kumar Upadhyay.
Neighbouring countries sent in military transport planes laden with medical supplies, food and water. But little sign of organised relief efforts was visible as aid agencies struggled to fly helicopters in cloudy weather, aftershocks forced the intermittent closure of Kathmandu airport and roads were blocked by landslides.
The extent of the damage around the epicentre, near Gorkha in the western highlands, had still not been fully assessed.
Patchy mobile telephone and email communication added to the slow progress of relief as Asia’s poorest country reeled from its worst earthquake in eight decades.
As rescuers dug with their hands through the rubble of brick buildings in crowded Kathmandu, thousands of survivors prepared to spend a second rainy night outside because they were afraid of going back to damaged homes.
Dfid have issued a new press release with details of the aid that will be given to Nepal to help the rescue operation.
The Department for International Development has activated its rapid funding mechanism for charities and partners on the ground dealing with the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today.
This is part of a new £5 million package of UK support in response to the Nepal earthquake which includes:
•£3 million released under the Rapid Response Facility (RRF) so partners can address immediate needs on the ground; and
•£2 million for the British Red Cross.
UK Government officials in Kathmandu and London are providing consular assistance to British nationals who have been caught up in this disaster and the Foreign Office has opened a crisis hotline for those concerned about friends or family. Britain is also sending Rapid Deployment Teams to provide assistance to British nationals.
Justine Greening said:
“As the death toll rises and the scale of this devastating earthquake becomes evident, the UK is continuing to do everything it can to help all those affected by this tragedy.
“I have now activated the Rapid Response Facility. This means we can fast track funding to aid workers on the ground so they can provide desperately needed supplies including clean water, shelter, household items and blankets. We are also sending humanitarian experts from the UK to provide urgent support on the ground.
“Meanwhile UK Government officials in Kathmandu and London continue to provide assistance to British nationals who have been caught up in this disaster. We will continue to do everything we can to help all those affected.”