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On April 25, Nepal was hit with the biggest earthquake in 80 years—but just how big was it?
Amidst the destruction, there was a spat on the issue between the US and China. The US Geological Survey (USGS), which monitors earthquakes worldwide, reported that the Nepal earthquake measured at a magnitude of 7.8. However, the China Earthquakes Network Center (CENC), which hopes to provide a similar service, measured the same earthquake at a magnitude of 8.1.
A difference of 0.3 in the magnitude of the seismic activity may not seem like much, but the apparently small differences in magnitudes of earthquakes reported by different agencies around the world are, in real-life, huge. Because if we are to believe the Chinese data, the Nepal earthquake may have been 2.8 times bigger than if we believe the US data.
This is because of how earthquakes are measured.
Scientists use a type of logarithmic scale to ensure…
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Rishi Khanal spent about 80 hours in a rubble-filled room with three dead bodies after the seven-story building he was in collapsed around him during Saturday’s massive earthquake in downtown Kathmandu. The 28-year-old was finally pulled out of the rubble on Tuesday, Reuters reports, by a Nepali-French rescue team combing the capital city for survivors.
“It seems he survived by sheer willpower,” said Akhilesh Shreshtha, a doctor who treated him, after it appeared that Khanal had no access to food or water for three days and escaped with nothing but a possible broken leg.
Khanal’s rescue was a heartening but rare story from the devastation in Nepal, where a 7.8-magnitude earthquake over the weekend killed more than 5,000 people. That toll is sure to rise significantly as rescue teams move away from Kathmandu, which they began to do early Wednesday, and reach devastated villages near the quake’s epicenter.
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Over the last two days, Nepal has been rattled by its worst earthquakes since 1934.
More than 3,000 people have lost their lives, and villages, roads, highways and ancient buildings have been devastated. The total economic losses from the damage could be between $1 billion and $10 billion, according to the US Geological Survey’s best estimate.
In all, the destruction could push the economy of Nepal—already one of the world’s poorest countries—back by a decade or more, significantly hurting the small Himalayan nation’s efforts to move from a “Least Developed Country” to a “Developing Country” by 2022.
“Almost 100 quakes in the last 24 hours have pushed us 50 years back to the past, in terms of infrastructural damage alone,” said Mukesh Khanal, an economist who works in the international development sector in Nepal.
“Highways and roads have suffered structural damage, and we do not know what kind of structural damage…
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Nepal’s utter inability to effectively respond to the catastrophic earthquake that rattled the small Himalayan nation on April 25 can be perhaps best explained by the fact that its army has only one big helicopter to its name.
The massive earthquake—followed by waves of aftershocks—has already killed over 3,000 people and injured thousands across this mountainous nation of 28 million. The exact extent of the damage in large swathes of rural Nepal is still unknown, although entire villages may have been wiped out.
In the midst of this terrible disaster, there is a slender silver lining for Nepal: The international community—from economic giants like India, China and the US, to tiny Bhutan and faraway Israel—has responded swiftly and generously to help search and rescue efforts to one of the world’s poorest nations.
Within four hours of the earthquake on April 25, New Delhi dispatched the Indian Air Force’s first C-130J…
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Fatalities were reported across Nepal, northern India, and Bangladesh. Search-and-rescue efforts are still in early stages, hampered by collapsed buildings and buckled roads, the death toll is expected to rise.
Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan airport has re-opened to receive emergency supplies, and India has already begun sending relief. Meanwhile, local emergency responders are excavating damaged buildings as quickly as they can, to free any survivors trapped or injured in the debris. Ordinary civilians are also working to help, freelance photographer Thomas Nybo told CNN from Kathmandu:
“A group of mainly tourists started gathering rocks, hammers and pickaxes and breaking through a re-enforced concrete wall to reach this guy…It took about two hours of smashing through wall and cutting rebar with a hacksaw to pull him out alive.”
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