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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This post will be updated as more information becomes available.
A little before noon local time, a massive earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale hit 77km (48 miles) northwest of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, sending strong tremors through the landlocked Himalayan nation and across northern India.
Reuters quoted a Nepalese home ministry official as saying that at least 688 people have been killed. In northern India, initial reports suggest that 13 people have been killed, including a 15-year-old girl whose home collapsed after the earthquake. The death toll could rise significantly, with many people feared to be trapped underneath collapsed buildings.
The epicentre of the quake, which struck at 11.41 am local time, was 35 kilometers east of Lamjung, about halfway between the Nepalese capital and Pokhara, the country’s second largest-city. Together, both cities are home to over a million people.
Here is a screenshot of the epicenter via USGS:
At 12.15pm local…
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A powerful earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale struck central Nepal on Saturday morning, damaging buildings in the country’s capital, Kathmandu, and sending tremors across northern India, Bangladesh and as far afield as Pakistan. At least 449 people were reported to have died.
The epicenter of the earthquake was located about 50 mi (80 km) northwest of Kathmandu, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which said the quake struck Nepal just before noon at a shallow depth of only about 9 mi (15 km) belowground.
More than 6.6 million people are in the area affected by the earthquake, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Bangkok.
In Kathmandu, residents congregated on streets and other open areas as the USGS reported a series of powerful aftershocks. Buildings and temples collapsed, and roads across the city were cracked open by the quake…
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Survivors of Cyclone Pam on the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu are bracing for a lack of food over the coming months because crops were destroyed in the recent storm.
Much of the archipelago’s population relies on subsistence farming and when the monster cyclone ripped through the country last week it wiped out livelihoods as well as homes.
“There’s always a lot of attention in the beginning, the first few weeks of a big disaster. But now, we’re looking at a hunger gap over the next three to six months,” said World Vision’s Emergency Operations Manager in Vanuatu, Alex Snary.
Aid agencies are rushing to deliver desperately needed supplies, especially to communities on the remote outer islands, which are still out of contact.
At least 11 people were killed in the disaster and 3,3000 displaced.
“It’s almost miraculous [on Tanna Island] that there isn’t a large number of casualties, given…
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Vanuatu’s President Baldwin Lonsdale says the tiny South Pacific island nation has lost much of its development due to the havoc wreaked over the weekend by “monster” Cyclone Pam.
“It’s a setback for the government and for the people of Vanuatu. After all the development that has taken place, all this development has been wiped out,” he told the Associated Press in Japan attending a U.N. conference on disaster-risk reduction. “We will have to start anew again.”
Lonsdale went on to say that climate change contributed to the devastation as the low-lying islands of the Pacific are suffering from rising sea levels.
International aid agencies along with military personnel from Australia, France and New Zealand have arrived in Vanuatu to assess the damage and deliver much needed aid and supplies.
Oxfam, who led coordination efforts in preparing for the storm, said 90% of housing in the capital, Port Vila, has…
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