NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: UPDATES SO FAR – ON APRIL 30

— On seventh day of the devastating earthquake of April 24, measuring 7.8 in intensity, the death toll is nearing 6000 while the injured count has crossed 11000 mark. Nepal army chief feared death toll could be as high as 15000. The final figure, or around it, will take days to arrive at and it is expected to be in many thousands.

— And it not just about dead and injured. Millions are left homes, displaced staying in outdoors, children alike. Many families are wiped out. Many families have family-members lost. Many families have very few or single survivors. According to the UN, some 70,000 houses are destroyed while 530,000 have suffered heavy structural damage.

— Whole of Kathmandu is looking like a refugee camp. It is dotted with tents. Teams of disaster management personnel, security apparatus, government officials, aid workers and people of Kathmandu have the combined responsibility of maintaining sanitation and hygiene. According to reports, they are failing in this because of government and because of people. Smell of human faeces and urine can be felt around relief camps of Kathmandu.

— Whole of Kathmandu valley and the affected regions of Nepal look like ghost towns. Quake epicentre in Gorkha district is totally vanished. No house is left in Barpak. There are many villages in the interior of Nepal where help is yet to reach. And whenever the aid teams reach there, their functionality would be basically about relief efforts as they would have no one to rescue anymore. Apart from some miraculous stories of survival, all would be dead by then.

— UN says 1.8 million immediately need food and water assistance. It estimates around 8 million are affected across 39 districts. 11 of it are considered severely damaged in the quake of April 24 and tremors and aftershocks after it. UN has appealed to the world community for an immediate relief of $US 415 million.

— People are protesting. Earthquake victims are clashing with police and government officials. They have no food. They have no water. The home looks frightening to the majority living out in the streets even if there is a home. Sheer frustration is leading them to block roads and relief operations blaming government of apathy and delay.

— Roads are hit with splits and cracks. Many bridges are gone. Choppers are not finding place to land in worst affected villages and remote towns and are airdropping relief materials. According to some reports, such areas need a trek of five days to reach there. The UN quotes ‘significant logistical challenges’ in reaching out to such rural areas.

— Nepal will have to work in different ways in different areas. The areas with relief camps need to see efforts towards rehabilitation and reconstruction now as Monsoon is near. The areas not yet reached need aid teams and relief work. Reaching there and providing relief should be the priority of aid teams. The UN said – Some villages can only be reached by foot with some areas taking up to four to five days to reach. Fuel to transport SAR teams (search and rescue) is limited. There is a need to prioritise restoration of communications infrastructure, casualty management and basic relief in remote areas.

— Nepal had three aftershocks today, two of them measuring 3.9 and 4.7. Nepal is expected to have aftershocks for months.

— Being a rainy day, rains hampered rescue and relief operations today.

— India is at the forefront of R&R operations in affected regions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior ministers and officials are personally looking after the work being done there. They are holding regular meetings. India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval are scheduled to visit Nepal tomorrow.

— Nepal government appealed its people to start their lives again. It has asked its employees to come to offices. Workers are told to engage in rehabilitation efforts along with day to day activity. Some shops, restaurants and casinos are opening up. Government has told shopkeepers to return to business. Banks are operating in Kathmandu. Government is working to reopen schools.

— According to a report by the Associated Press, Nepal may allow Himalayan trekking and climbing to Mount Everest if climbers do so. The report says that the climbing season may be extended to June. Traditionally, bad weather makes it difficult to ascend the world’s highest peak beyond May.

— 19 are confirmed dead here, in Everest base camp area and on the way up. Scores are missing. China has closed the northern route to the peak for Spring. The southern route from Nepal, badly damaged in the earthquake, is the popular one. According to the AP report, Nepal will be able to open it up within a week.

— China did not use its military planes to evacuate stranded Chinese. Also, India has outdone China in evacuating its nationals. Chinese PLA is being criticised for it.

— Countries have continued evacuation of their stranded nationals. So far, India has helped 15 countries in evacuating its nationals. They are being evacuated through Tribhuvan international airport in Kathmandu and through road-routes via India. Many thousand Indians are still trapped in Nepal, a religious and historical country for Hinduism.

Related post:
NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: UPDATES SO FAR – ON APRIL 29
https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/nepal-earthquake-updates-so-far-on-april-29/

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

AN ACTIVE AND AGGRESSIVE RAHUL GANDHI: HOPE THIS STREAK IS THERE TO STAY..

Let’s be political about it and let’s be politically correct about it.

And let’s be politically straightforward about it.

And being politically straightforward in this country means it needs a strong government and a strong opposition – if we go by the legislative politics and political developments of the day.

Now there is a strong government, led by Narendra Modi – the National Democratic Alliance government led by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP led government won the majority on its own, first time in 30 years – since 1984, when Rajiv Gandhi stormed to the Parliament winning 404 of the seats – riding high on the sympathy wave after Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

But there is no strong opposition. And there are no strong opposition leaders – to the stature of Narendra Modi – except very few – who can challenge Narendra Modi nationally.

And Rahul Gandhi after his recent sabbatical stands first among them.

For the time-being, he looks charged, has an agenda, and is pursuing it.

If we take different news reports in consideration, his latest sabbatical was of around two months. The world was talking about it but came to know about it officially on a Monday (February 23) when the Budget session of the Parliament began. On April 16, he returned.

Reports say many things about his sabbatical – including introspection and meditation (that included Vipassana as well).

He made news headlines during his around two-months long sabbatical. He was seen as a reluctant politician with a string of electoral failures since 2010. The aura of ‘seriousness’ around him was on the wane. But his leave of absence, shrouded in mystery, made for daily news elements.

And the good things is – his return and he himself are making for even more news elements.

And that is good for Indian politics. He is taking on the government. His politics looks like having a future now. He is speaking and interacting regularly.

Hope this streak is there to stay with an active and aggressive Rahul Gandhi.

Indian politics of the day badly needs a strong opposition and opposition leader and Rahul Gandhi can lead here. One-sided numbers of political opposition in Rajya Sabha would be of little advantage to the country until there are voices, both in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, that raise issues in a constructive way and are ready to fight back.

And the government is taking serious note of Rahul Gandhi now, readings of the political developments of the day tell us.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: UPDATES SO FAR – ON APRIL 29

— Those dying in April 24 earthquake and aftershocks and tremors that have followed have crossed 5200 mark. It is expected to be around 5500 so far. Around 11000 are injured. Millions are left homeless and displaced.

— There are stories of survival and there are stories of despair. Hope they show it, but they don’t possess it. Their homes are gone. Their loved ones are gone. Some of them have survived the earthquake trapped in the rubble for four days, rubble that happened to be their houses once.

— Though there are miraculous stories of survival, like a man in Kathmandu who was pulled out of rubble after 82 hours, or like a four-month old baby in Bhaktapur who was rescued after 22 hours, but overall, affected regions of Nepal have turned into ghost towns.

— India is basing its operations in Kathmandu and Gorkha districts – the two most affected parts – in terms of human lives and destruction. The 7.8 quake’s epicentre was in Gorkha district, between Kathmandu and Pokhara, near Lamjung district.

— People are complaining that they have not received the relief material. They are complaining about the slow pace of delivery. They are behaving frustrated and irritated. They are running out of patience. They are protesting and some of them even blocked the traffic in Kathmandu to press for their demands. They are demanding water and food.

— People continue to stay outdoors in affected areas including Kathmandu. Aftershocks have continued. No major tremors in last two days. No major tremor today so far.

— The by-product practices in such circumstance like people selling their assets and properties for relief materials including food, water, medicines and possibly shelter, people looking to buy such things, goons indulged in loot and burglary and rumour-mongering are also having a run in the affected regions of Nepal these days.

— Today, banks in Kathmandu worked for few hours. ATM kiosks received the much needed money infusion. People running short of everything can breathe easy on this front – yes, only if they are carrying their cards. And yes, this is limited to Kathmandu only.

— Everest climbing season of Spring has virtually come to an end. China has closed the northern way from its side, from Tibet. No one knows when would it be reopened. The route from the southern side, the popular one, one in Nepal, is completely devastated in the quake. Bodies of around 20 climbers has been recovered so far. Scores are still missing. Scores are left injured.

To continue..

Related post:
NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: UPDATES SO FAR – ON APRIL 28
https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/nepal-earthquake-updates-so-far-on-april-28/

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: MEANWHILE, INDIAN FARMERS CONTINUE TO COMMIT SUICIDE

Debt-ridden farmer commits suicide in Kalaburagi
The Hindu-April 28, 2015

Two more farmers commit suicide over crop loss
Daily Mail, April 28, 2015

Cotton farmer commits suicide in TN
Business Standard, April 27, 2015

Another farmer commits suicide in Haryana
Chandigarh Tribune, April 27, 2015

Ninth Rajasthan Farmer to Commit Suicide in 1 Week
NDTV, April 26, 2015

Unable to pay loan, farmer hangs self outside DM office
Indian Express, April 26, 2015

Under debt, farmer commits suicide
Chandigarh Tribune, April 25, 2015

These are also some of the headlines since Saturday from India – a Saturday when Nepal’s devastating earthquake enveloped a part of Himalayan range, including many districts of Nepal, 39 overall and 11 severely damaged, and many parts of India and some parts of other neighbouring countries – China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan.

It’s an unending human misery and Nepal will take long to come back to normalcy in spite of the overwhelming international aid including from India.

Farmer suicides in India are also an unending human misery and no foreign aid is coming to curb them.

Governments here, including the Union Government try to do all to the hide behind the data when it comes to farmer suicides.

Though Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh has revised the estimates to 189 lakh hectares from 94 lakh hectares, many states affected have not reported farmer suicides due to unseasonal rains and the subsequent crops loss or have reported he same in highly disproportionate ways. And even the Centre, though accepting, is not attributing almost of these distress deaths due to some agrarian crisis.

The Nepal earthquake comes to the rescue of governments we can say, especially one government – Arvind Kejriwal’s government in Delhi.

Arvind Kejriwal has found himself in a trap after a farmer allegedly committed suicide in his rally. Kejriwal had launched the rally to take over the mantle of farmers’ fight against the National Democratic Alliance government’s land acquisition ordinance. He was claiming to offer the maximum compensation to the farmers in the country who were victims of unseasonal rains.

But Gajender or Gajendra’s alleged suicide washed down his efforts. When Gajender made the move to climb the tree at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, when he was trying to scale up and down the branches of the three, when he was waving his turban, the crowd below there, consisted mostly of the Aam Aadmi Party volunteers mainly, cheered him up.

When his alleged suicide, which was caught on many cameras, took place, Kejriwal promised he would visit the hospital after finishing the rally. He kept on speaking. The rally went on.

Meanwhile, Gajender was declared ‘brought dead’ by the doctors of Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in Delhi.

And Kejriwal and the AAP’s plans went to the awry after it.

After it, Kejriwal’s proposed visit never happened. He spoke on it, but only on third day, on April 24, defending and apologizing at the same time. His party’s spokespersons were speaking rubbish all this while. Sanjay Singh even visited Gajender’s village in Duasa district in Rajasthan.

Gajender’s village became a talking point. Every major political party, along with some senior politicians, saw it its duty to register its presence there. When Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Rajasthan’s chief minister, from the Bhartiya Janata Party, made a controversial statement about visiting Gajender’s villages, it created a political storm. She ultimately did not visit the village.

Gajender’s family too changed its stance after meeting Sanjay Singh. In words of Sanjay Singh, the family demanded ‘martyr status for the cause of farmers’ and jobs for dependent of Gajender, along with other demands.

In all, a political storm was brewing and farm suicides were at the forefront of every discourse in this country, something that seldom happens, even if tens of thousands of farmers commit suicide each year. Everyone was trying to squeeze in the maximum political mileage of this ‘Peepli Live’ sort of situation.

All this while, Gajender’s suicide and suicide note, both were under scanner. There were doubts based on the probe so far and it was told to us that Gajender did not intend to commit suicide and his suicide note was forged. Questions like who invited him from Rajasthan and his call details are part of investigation now. And the AAP was clearly on back foot.

Kejriwal was feeling uncomfortable with these questions. He was at the centre of every criticism and he had no answers but lame excuses. Also, the incident came after almost expulsion like situation of two senior-most AAP founder-members, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan. The AAP is staring at a credibility crisis.

And then April 25 Nepal earthquake happened. The whole nation since then is talking about it. It got round the clock coverage till Monday. Even yesterday, it got the maximum amount of coverage.

And the AAP got the breather that it desperately needed.

April 25, 26, 27 and 28 – no one talked about Gajender.

But Gajender’s issue is not dead. As coverage from Nepal will return to normal, the AAP agenda will be back in political circles.

Kejriwal realizes it or not, we need to see that. Though he has softened his tone towards Delhi Police saying even Delhi Police officials present there could not think that Gajender was preparing to commit suicide, Gajender did die.

Farmers are dying daily in this country the headlines tell. Unseasonal rains have only added to the numbers. But they don’t pull attention, until someone like Gajender commits an intentional/unintentional suicide in India’s national capital in a rally called by its newest political party that is running the show in Delhi and is trying to take on the whole political class including the BJP in the centre.

Commonplace ironies of world’s largest democracy continue.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: UPDATES SO FAR – ON APRIL 28

— Death toll in Nepal has crossed the 5000 mark. Injured count over 10,000. The final figure, as expected, is to be in many thousands – of dead – of injured.

— India has reported 72 deaths, China has 25.

— Most affected districts in Nepal – Kathmandu, Pokhara, Lalitpur (Patan), Lamjung, Gorkha, Sindhupalchok, Bhaktapur, Rasuwa, Dhading, Langtang, Gorkha, Nuwakot, Kavre, Makwanpur, Chitwan, Parsa, Bara, Saptari, Dhanusha.

— Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur have lost many temples and heritage sites. Kathmandu’s Darbar Square and Gorkha’s Gorkha Durbar have been hit badly.

— Millions were displaced and left homeless. Their rehabilitation is a priority but public frustration is growing. Relief is not reaching to them as expected.

— Rescue and relief efforts are proving difficult to carry out, especially in remote towns and villages. Many of them are still out of reach. Teams are facing problems of logistics with cracked roads and dysfunctional power and communication lines.

— Nepal’s small and chaotic airport is proving to be a problem. It is inundated with people, and with relief material and is facing logistical problems in managing them. People are rushing to go out of Nepal while support from the world community has created a sort of mismanagement at the airport.

— Nepal, due to its goodwill, is getting overwhelming response from the world community. India, Nepal’s neighbour, the only country with direct road access to the country, is playing the role of big brother with its ‘Operation Maitri’, helping Nepal in every respect. It is helping in rescue, relief and reconnaissance efforts in Kathmandu, in Everest base camp area and in other quake affected regions. It is expected to play a big role in rehabilitation and reconstruction work. It is airlifting people and trying to open up more roads to the country to carry more people to this side of India-Nepal border and heavy equipments needed to that side of the border. Indian Army has established a camp in Pokhara, Nepal’s second largest district, to coordinate the operations. The international community, including China, Pakistan, US, UK, Australia, Canada, Israel, etc., and different aid agencies including the UN are there with helping hands.

— Stormy weather with warnings of heavy to very heavy rains are affecting rescue and relief work. Whenever rains happen, efforts to reach and help people across the affected region come to a virtual standstill.

— Electricity was restored in some parts of Kathmandu with help of India.

— Though there was no major earthquake today, Nepal continue to experience aftershocks.

— People continue to stay in the open – in Kathmandu and across Nepal. Kathmandu looks like a refugee camps with many tents, open hospitals and relief centres.

— According to the UN estimates, some 8 million are affected and many of Nepal’s cities look like ghost towns. It is revised and up from an earlier UN estimate of 6.6 million quake-affected people. According to the revised estimates, 39 of 75 Nepal districts are earthquake affected. 11 of these are severely damaged.

— Around 20 bodies are recovered from Mount Everest base camps. Some reports say 18. The final figure is yet not available. Scores are still missing. Some reports say them to be around 200, some 400. Dozens are saved from the way up and the area surrounding Everest base camps. The way up from Tibet side, in China, the northern side, is closed. The southern side, from Nepal, the popular one, is devastated. Everest climbing season this spring is virtually over with it.

— Nepal’s deputy PM said the rescue efforts were over and it was the time for rehabilitation work even if the reconnaissance work was not yet complete.

— Also, petty politics, though to a smaller extent, is at play. Nepal has rejected Taiwanese offer of help. There are reports of China expressing displeasure on India, choppers flying near China’s border. Also, there are reports of skirmishes between Indian R&R teams and Nepal’s defence forces.

— Different estimates say different things and will continue to say so. The impact of this earthquake on Nepal’s economy is severe. Nepal and global agencies are already assessing the damage. If we believe the US Geological Survey estimates, the damage could be to the extent of around $US 10 billion. IHS Global, a US based firm, estimates Nepal needs $US 5 billion for rehabilitation and reconstruction works.

— Remittances form around 30% of the GDP while tourism’s share is 8%. This 38% also helps Nepal to work on its unemployment problem, that is as huge as 50% according to some estimates. In the aftermath of Nepal quake, the sectors are going to be hit badly, affecting thus Nepal’s economy badly.

Related post:
NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: UPDATES SO FAR – ON APRIL 27
https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/nepal-earthquake-updates-so-far-on-april-27/

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

NEPAL’S ECONOMY AFTER EARTHQUAKE

Different estimates put a strain of up to $10 billion on Nepal’s economy. The US Geological Survey put it around $20 billion according to the reports available. A US based consultancy firm, IHS Global, has come to the conclusion after its assessments that Nepal needs $5 billion over five years for quake related reconstruction.

The United Nations estimates that the quake has affected 40% of Nepal. In revised estimates, the UN estimates that the quake has affected some 8 million Nepali residents, up from its earlier estimate of 6.6 million.

According to the UN estimates, 11 districts are severally devastated while in overall, 39 of the 75 districts of Nepal are affected by this earthquake.

Nepal is an impoverished, landlocked nation of over 28 million (27.8 million to be exact), it is among the poorest in the world. Its global fame is due to Mount Everest, Earth’s highest peak. Ascending the mountains to reach Mount Everest and Himalayan trekking contribute to the economy in a major way. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism related activaties contribute around 8% of Nepal’s GDP.

Nepal is a low income economy with its GDP around $19 billion. Most of the population, over 70%, is engaged in agriculture. But its contribution to the GDP is around 33.7%. So, around 70% of the population is engaged in an activity that contributes just 34% of the GDP.

Services sector, of which tourism is part, contributes around 52% to Nepal’s economy, the largest chunk. Remittances are an important part of it as Nepal cannot employ most of its employment-age population, some estimates put the figure around 50%. In 2013, remittances constituted around 29% of the GDP. Hotels, real estate and construction are important parts of services-based industries.

As expected, manufacturing forms the lowest chunk. It contributes just 14% to the GDP.

Nepal is said to be a smuggling haven for India and many international brands are routinely smuggled into India via Nepal. India is also its biggest economic partner, the country that borders Nepal on three sides – east, south and west. Around 55% of exports to Nepal is from India.

China that is competing with India for a strategic stake in the nation, comes at distant third with 4% of exports. The US accounts for 9% of exports.

While most of the Nepal is badly hit by the devastating earthquake, the tourism industry has started feeling the heat already. People and parties are cancelling their Nepal tours and plans to ascend Mount Everest. Even the Indian regions of the affected belt, Darjeeling, Sikkim and Northeast India, are affected in the wave. Tour operators say 90% bookings to Nepal and affected regions stand cancelled at this hour.

China has closed the way to Mount Everest from its side, though a less popular one, and there is no timeframe when it will be opened. Route through Nepal is universally accepted and a more popular one. The Everest base camps at around 5000 meters in Nepal are badly devastated in ensuing avalanches. Some 200 are still missing. When the quake-induced avalanche happened, many mountaineers are on their way up to Mount Everest and many were planning to do so. Eight of 10 world’s tallest mountains are in Nepal.

Nepal was already among the least developed countries in the world and was aiming for the tag of ‘developing country’ by 2022 but the poor nation with per capita GDP of around $700 according to the World Bank figures has been pushed back by at least a decade.

Staring before it is the mammoth work of reconstructing a massive earthquake hit economy.

And staring in the face is the task of making it earthquake resistant! After all, Nepal falls in an earthquake prone zone, on a fault-line of Indian and Eurasian plates, and when they begin rehabilitation and reconstruction work, it should be in the minds of the policymakers, unlike after the quake of 1934.

It may happen this time if they speak in urgent, uniformed voice.

1934 was a monarchy. 2015 is a democracy.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: THE SCIENCE BEHIND IT

Though it was always vulnerable to earthquakes, Nepal didn’t face any massive one in 80 years, and the landlocked impoverished nation was not prepared for this one, a massive 7.8 earthquake.

The earthquake, a shallow one with depth of just 15 Kms, has affected around 8 million people of Nepal, the UN say in its revised estimates. According to some estimates, the shallow and strong quake has hit almost 40% of Nepal and is expected to cost the nation billions of US$ in reconstruction.

The whole of Himalayan range is considered unstable and Nepal lies there. Mount Everest is getting up every year, a centimetre each year. According to the geologists, Indian plate is sliding under Nepal.

The whole Kathmandu was almost flattened in 1934 earthquake. Nepal could have learnt lessons from it and designed buildings in a way to withstand earthquakes. But among the poorest nations of earth, Nepal could not do it.

Poor it was. It remained poor. And with a continued streak of Maoist insurgency that was taken into mainstream in last decade only. The result was – an unplanned growth. Nepal is basically about Kathmandu and Mount Everest – its best known locations. Then, there is tourism circuit of districts like Pokhara and Janakpur. All these are in a quake-sensitive reason.

Over the years, most of Kathmandu and the valley surrounding it have grown in an unorganized way. Most of the buildings do now follow quake-resistant building rules. Most heritage buildings needed retrofitting. Nepal had seven UN heritage sites before this earthquake. Four are completely destroyed in Saturday’s earthquake. Many localities, buildings, temples and structures are completely decimated.

Himalaya was formed when the Indian plate collided with the Eurasian plate. And Himalaya is still rising up. The Indian plate is sliding under the Eurasian plate and whenever a collision happens, it releases enormous amount of energy. It happened in 1934. It happened on April 25. Killing over 10,000 then. Killing scores now and the complete assessment will take time.

Indian plate is sliding northwards at 5 centimetres per year. It is considered a fast enough pace in geological parlance.

The movement of tectonic plates below India and Nepal creates a fault-line that runs all along the Himalayan range – 1400 mile long. And Nepal is on this fault-line.

Enormous energy is released when the earth crust ruptures due to the stress between the plates and it is a continued process.

But we cannot predict its frequency. Some experts say now Nepal should be ready for a big earthquake every five-six decades. But even they are not sure.

After the earthquake, India has slid around 6-7 feet under Nepal, different scientific estimates say. That means over a thousand miles.

Understanding it is tectonic in nature – you want to understand it or you don’t want to. It all depends on people. For those who want to understand the science behind the Saturday’s earthquake, these are few links:

Scientific American – How The Deadly Nepal Earthquake Happened
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-the-deadly-nepal-earthquake-happened-graphic1/

Discovery News – The Science Behind The Nepal Earthquake
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PfTh1Pix8E

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: LINES IN/ON CRISIS

DEAD: THE DEATH TOLL HAS CROSSED 4,000 MARKS.

INJURED AND HOMELESS: The count is already nearing 7000. UNICEF is appealing urgent help for 1 million children, so we can imagine the number of adults who have been left homeless and are displaced in the tragedy.

HUMAN STORIES FROM NEPAL: The stories of survival – the heart-wrenching elements – people dying there, people already dead and people dependent on them – people trapped there – the need for rescue and relief operations – the need for reconnaissance missions to locate them – the need to extend the helping hands to them – prices skyrocketing – the racket of sale and debt – stealing from them, robbing them

RELIEF AND RESCUE (R&R) OPERATIONS BY INDIA

RELIEF AND RESCUE OPERATIONS BY THE WORLD COMMUNITY

EXTENT OF DAMAGE: Almost 40% of Nepal is hit by the massive earthquake of Saturday. The extent of destruction is widening its range every hour. Rescue teams are yet to reach many remote towns and villages but they are covering areas now after Kathmandu and the valley surrounding it. Some reports say the Gorkha district is hardest hit.

WHAT IS THE EXTENT OF DAMAGE IN NEPAL?

WHAT IS THE EXTENT OF DAMAGE IN NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES – INDIA, CHINA, PAKISTAN, BHUTAN AND BANGLADESH?

WHAT IS THE EXTENT OF DAMAGE IN INDIA? Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have reported deaths. Bihar is the worst hit. Bihar and West Bengal had another earthquake today to talk about.

AFTERSHOCKS AND FURTHER QUAKES: 60 aftershocks and counting – earthquakes since Saturday – experts say the aftershocks may continue for months and years

TRIBHUVAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT/KATHMANDU AIRPORT: Chaotic scenes there – people queuing up to go out to their homes – the aid material there – how Nepal’s only international airport, which is relatively small in size, is coping up

EVACUATIONS: By airlifting or through roads. Nepal is a tourist designation with Mount Everest, the highest peak of the Earth’ on its soil. Kathmandu was a colourful destination for tourists from across the world. Many other sites, now badly damaged in this quake, are favourites of tourists. For Indians, Nepal is a Hindu majority nation and has many sacred temples of Hinduism including the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu.

TRAVEL ADVISORIES: By countries – USA, UK and Australia have already issued – more to follow the suit

IMPACT ON TOURISM: Reports say it is the season of maximum footfalls. And the tragedy has hit it now, affecting it, decimating all hopes, not just in Nepal, an impoverished nation where tourism is one of the major elements of economy, but in other affected regions of Himalaya as well.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: UPDATES SO FAR – ON APRIL 27

— The death toll in Nepal has crossed the 4000 mark. It is expected to be in many thousands. The severity of a strong earthquake is revealing itself with each passing hour. The reconnaissance efforts are now reaching to the remote areas assessing the damage.

— Roads are broken. Cracks are wide and open. Rubble and debris have taken over the roads of cities. Access to places (villages and town) are coming in bits. Maximum reports available are from Kathmandu and the valley surrounding it. Agencies involved in rescue and relief efforts are now trying to reach other locations with help of choppers and aids.

— People are staying out and need blankets. Fear is universal psychosis there and that is natural after such a massive earthquake, the one after 1934. Aid teams are working to provide them relief while rescuing the trapped ones. Taking out people trapped and bodies from rubble are tough tasks and will take time. Already, there are more than 6500 injured. UNICEF says around 1 million children are in urgent need of help and thus we can imagine the count of homeless and displaced adults by this calamity.

— Rescue and relief agencies are working with power generators, engineers, medicinal supplies, doctors, earthquake relief personnel, buses, aircrafts and helicopters, radars, equipments, food material, water, daily-usage supplies, satellite equipments, etc., to help people in distress.

— Countries are evacuating their people stranded in Nepal. The figure for India, with historical and religious ties with Nepal, has already crossed over 2000 mark. Many countries have asked India for help. India is airlifting the stranded people there as well as is working to clear the roads to transport people through road-routes in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The government of Uttar Pradesh has set up four camps at India-Nepal border for the victims.

— In India, the death toll has already reached 72 with Bihar registering maximum number – 56. Uttar Pradesh has registered 13, West Bengal 3 and Rajasthan 1. China has said that its Tibet region has 20 people dead in earthquake incidents so far.

— Kathmandu airport (or Tribhuvan International Airport) remains a scene of chaos. Many people are waiting there to be evacuated but operations are not regular. Needy people are being given preference. At the moment, though the airport is now open, there is so much aid material is at the airport that it is hampering with the flight operations.

— Earthquakes and tremors have continued in Nepal. Two major earthquakes were on day-1, Saturday. The first one at 11:56 AM local time with a magnitude 7.8 was the severest one in country’s history after the 1934 earthquake of Nepal-Bihar. The landlocked nation faced another earthquake, measuring 6.6, at 12:30 PM on Saturday. Quakes followed many aftershocks that are expected to continue for days, and if we believe the comments of the scientific experts, may continue even for months and years. There are quakes and aftershocks yesterday and today. In India, Bihar and West Bengal faced another earthquake this evening. Its epicentre was in Mirik and it was measured at 5.1.

— India, being the country with direct road connectivity to Nepal and bigger role on global stage has strategic interests in the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reignited the ties and India is at forefront of the rescue and relief operations. It is also engaged in reconnaissance mission to assess the damage. Indian Army is conducting Operation Maitri to help in the landlocked nation in this hour of help. Over two dozen aircrafts have been put in service and many are on standby. Relief material and personnel are already there and more are being sent. Still more are on standby. India is also helping other countries, along with its own people, evacuating them as the situation is permitting. So far, over 2000 Indians have been evacuated from Nepal. Foreign nationals who are placing their requests are being issued free visas to their country via India.

— Indian Prime Minister and senior ministers are monitoring the R&R efforts. They are holding meetings every day. A team of senior officials from different ministries landed in Nepal today to coordinate with rescue and relief efforts.

— Nepal is strategically important, not just for India, but for Pakistan and China as well. Yes, it is driven by the crisis of the hour, and these two countries, along with other countries from the world community, aid agencies, NGOs and the United Nations are engaged in rescue and relief efforts in Nepal.

— Countries have started issuing travel advisories. Nepal, many parts of India and the affected regions of Himalaya are expected the face the results. USA, UK and Australia have advised their citizens to avoid Nepal in the near future. Darjeeling, Sikkim and Northeast India are expected to be affected from the resulting events.

— Kathmandu is destroyed beyond recognition. Very few buildings there can withstand an earthquake of this measure. Many localities are entirely wiped out. Many heritage structures are totally lost. Most of the buildings have suffered cracks and other damages.

— Overall, according to the United Nations, 6.6 million Nepalis are affected. Reports say Gorkhadistrict is hardest hit.

— In other parts of Nepal, with passing hours, the rescue teams are reaching and the extent of damage thus is widening its ambit every hour. Entire villages, be of 200, of 500, of 100, or 1500, or so, have been destroyed in the quake. Here, the number may be variable but death is a constant word. A report said the entire villagenear Lamjung, the epicentre of 7.8 quake, is totally destroyed leaving a trail of dead bodies. When the Nepali government is not able to help people in Kathmandu, we can imagine the plight of people in remote areas and towns.

— Avalanches, consequent to earthquakes, have killed 17 so far in the Mount Everest area, the world’s peak. According to the same report, the plans of over 300 to ascent the peak have been put on hold. South side of base camps are badly hit in avalanches. The way to the peak from China, the less popular one, has also been blocked for the time-being.

Related post:
NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: SO FAR, ON APRIL 26
https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/nepal-earthquake-so-far-on-april-26/

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: SO FAR, ON APRIL 26

— In two days, Nepal has experienced two strong earthquakes. First occurred on Saturday 11:56 AM local time, was 7.8 in intensity according to the US Geological Survey, had occurred some 80 Kms from Kathmandu, was based in Lamjung and according to some reports, have damaged almost 40% of Nepal. It was felt in the neighbouring countries as well – India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan. In India, it was felt most strongly with Bihar being the most affected. So far, the death toll in India is at 62 – 46 in Bihar, 13 in Uttar Pradesh, 2 in West Bengal and one today in Rajasthan. The quake was felt strongly in many parts of North and East India with reports from as far as Mumbai and Andhra Pradesh. The second one, 6.7 at Richter-Scale with epicentre in Kodari, hit the landlocked nation of 28 million today, hampering the rescue and relief operations.

— So far, in Nepal, the death toll has crossed the figure of 2500. It is expected to be in many thousands as the reports come. Many parts of the country are totally damaged. Entire localities and villages are wiped out. Nepal had seen it previously in 1934, a destruction of this scale with an earthquake of 8.2 had hit Nepal and Bihar killing over 10000. In injured count is over 6000.

— The impoverished nation is not capable of handling the crisis on its own. It needs food material, water and medicines for millions affected. Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala left his Indonesia visit midway to return to Nepal today to personally look after the rescue efforts.

— As predicted by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and other agencies, rains have begun in Nepal, further hampering the rescue, relief and reconnaissance operations. In next 48 hours, heavy to very heavy rains are expected in Nepal.

— There are no definite reports about the death toll at Everest base camp and the way up. So far, around 20 bodies have been recovered. Some reports say 200 are still missing in the area. Injured already count to 60. There are distress calls from the climbers with Tweets and Instagram pictures.

— Tribhuvan Airport of Kathmandu is again closed and all the air-lift operations related to rescue and relief matters have been put on hold.

— Since yesterday, Nepal has seen at least 46 aftershocks and there is no time-frame by which the quakes would stop. Many of these are at least 4 to 5 on the Richter-Scale. More avalanches, landslides and aftershocks are expected.

— People are outside, in the streets, in the tents, desperately needing relief. Survivors need helping hands. There are many for whom a further delay can be fatal but then, rains have come, heavy rains. There are many bodies trapped in the rubble. There are many remote areas where the reconnaissance missions have not reached.

— Rumours are keeping the parallel track alive. Differing toll figures are acceptable at this hour of crisis but what about fake images? Also, a silly rumour-mongering attitude at this time may further create the atmosphere of panic and hamper the efforts of machinery involved in relief work.

— Even if there are standalone villages in some remote areas, they are bound to have people. As the time would pass, we would have more reports from different parts on the extent of damage. Saturday’s quake epicentre Lamjung stands totally destroyed in the massive earthquake.

— India and the international community has come forward to help the devastated Mount Everest nation. India is the forefront of the rescue and relief efforts thrusting the largest contingent of personnel and relief material there. India has employed many of its military and civil aircrafts for rescue, relief and reconnaissance efforts there. The Indian Prime Minister is personally looking after the efforts and a team of senior ministers is to go to Nepal. Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary and IMD officials are holding regular pressers.

Previous post:
NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: UPADTES SO FAR
https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/nepal-earthquake-upadtes-so-far/

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/