2015 Nepal earthquake
The 2015 Nepal earthquake (also known as the Gorkha earthquake), which killed more than 8,000 people and injured more than twice as many, occurred at 11:56 NST on 25 April, with a moment magnitude (Mw) of 7.8Mw or 8.1Ms and a maximum Mercalli Intensity of IX (Violent). Its epicenter was the village of Barpak, Gorkha district, and its hypocenter was at a depth of approximately 15 km (9.3 mi).
It was the most powerful disaster to strike Nepal since the 1934 Nepal-Bihar earthquake. Some casualties were also reported in the adjoining areas of India,China, and Bangladesh.
The earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing at least 19 making it the deadliest day on the mountain in history. It triggered another huge avalanche in Langtang valley, where 250 were reported missing.
Hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless with entire villages flattened across many districts of the country. Centuries-old buildings were destroyed at UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley, including some at theKathmandu Durbar Square, the Patan Durbar Square and the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Geophysicists and other experts had warned for decades that Nepal was vulnerable to a deadly earthquake, particularly because of its geology, urbanization, and architecture.
Continued aftershocks occurred throughout Nepal within 15–20 minute intervals, with one shock reaching a magnitude of 6.7 on 26 April at 12:54:08 NST The country also had a continued risk of landslides.
The earthquake occurred on 25 April 2015 at 11:56 a.m. NST (06:11:26 UTC) at a depth of approximately 15 km (9.3 mi) (which is considered shallow and therefore more damaging than quakes that originate deeper in the ground), with its epicentreapproximately 34 km (21 mi) east-southeast of Lamjung, Nepal, lasting approximately twenty seconds. The earthquake was initially reported as 7.5 Mw by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) before it was quickly upgraded to 7.9 Mw and finally downgraded to 7.8 Mw. The China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC) reported the earthquake's magnitude to be 8.1 Ms. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said two powerful quakes were registered in Nepal at 06:11 UTC and 06:45 UTC. The first quake measured 7.9 Mw and its epicenter was identified at a distance of 80 km to the northwest of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Bharatpur was the nearest major city to the main earthquake, 53 km (33 mi) from the epicenter. The second earthquake was somewhat less powerful at 6.6 Mw. It occurred 65 km (40 mi) east of Kathmandu and its seismic focus lay at a depth of 10 km (6.2 mi) below the earth's surface. Over thirty-five aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 Mw or greater occurred in the day following the initial earthquake, including the one of magnitude 6.6 Mw.
According to the USGS, the temblor was caused by a sudden thrust, or release of built-up stress, along the major fault line where theIndian Plate, carrying India, is slowly diving underneath the Eurasian Plate, carrying much of Europe and Asia. Kathmandu, situated on a block of crust approximately 120 km (74miles) wide and 60 km (37 miles) long, reportedly shifted 3 m (10 ft) to the south in just 30 seconds.
Concern was expressed that harvests could be reduced or lost this season as people affected by the earthquake would have only a short time to plant crops before the onset of the Monsoon rains.
Nepal, with a total Gross Domestic Product of USD$19.921 billion (according to a 2012 estimate) is one of Asia's poorest countries, and has little ability to fund a major reconstruction effort on its own. Even before the quake, the Asian Development Bankestimated that it would need to spend about four times more than it currently does annually on infrastructure through 2020 to attract investment. The U.S. Geological Survey initially estimated economic losses from the temblor at 9 percent to 50 percent of gross domestic product, with a best guess of 35 percent. "It’s too hard for now to tell the extent of the damage and the effect on Nepal’s GDP", according to Hun Kim, an Asian Development Bank (ADB) official. The ADB said on the 28th that it would provide a USD$3 million grant to Nepal for immediate relief efforts, and up to USD$200 million for the first phase of rehabilitation.
Rajiv Biswas, an economist at a Colorado-based consultancy, said that rebuilding the economy will need international effort over the next few years as it could "easily exceed" USD$5 billion, or about 20 percent of Nepal's gross domestic product.