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Posts Tagged ‘earthquake

Stand By Me: Nepal

Posted on May 15, 2015

Claire and I came to Nepal on vacation.

Actually, April 25th was the start of her two-month sabbatical!

We certainly didn’t have the experience we expected, but we’re both grateful that we had this time here, and that we were able to contribute in some small way.

Claire Davidson and I will be leaving Nepal tomorrow after three weeks here that we will never forget. Talk about bittersweet.

We arrived on the afternoon of April 24th.

The next day, as we were exploring the ancient capital of Bakhtapur with Ajay Uprety, the earthquake hit.

We were almost crushed by a falling building, and spent the rest of that day sprinting through Bakhtapur’s narrow streets, running from square to square through the destroyed 800-year-old city, to escape the recurring terror of the aftershocks.

We walked for several hours and eventually made our way back to our hotel, which had partially collapsed, and set up camp.

We immediately started mobilizing International Medical Corps‘ response with the help of a handful of strangers-come-friends who shared our campsite and who wanted to help.

Over the days that followed, more staff and volunteers arrived, and our response scaled up.

We chartered helicopters to reach the most remote villages, and we worked to bring safe water and sanitation facilities to displaced persons living in camps in Kathmandu and in destroyed villages around the epicentre.

Our team and our reach grew before our eyes as the global community generously contributed to our efforts.

On May 12th, we experienced yet another earthquake.

I was in Gorkha District with Ivy Caballes Registered NurseRemi DrozdLara Phillips and our team running a mobile medical unit when the building we were in partially collapsed and the hills around us started sliding away.

We flew back to Kathmandu with Tara Yip-Bannicq and linked up with Claire and other colleagues to immediately start assessments – going first to Bakhtapur, where Claire, Ajay and I were the day of the first earthquake.

We worked late into that evening, setting up a field post-op unit close to one of the hospitals we are supporting in Kathmandu.

We’re leaving Nepal with heavy hearts, as there is still an enormous amount of work to be done.

But we’re leaving our work in good hands, and we will continue to stand by Nepal from afar. We look forward to coming back under better circumstances, and to once again experiencing the beauty and kindness of this country.

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Tracy Chapman: “Stand By Me” – David Letterman Tracy performs the classic Ben E. King song.

Nepal, Katmandu, and frequent murderous and devastating earthquakes

NEW DELHI — A powerful earthquake shook Nepal on Saturday near its capital, Katmandu, killing more than 1,900 people, flattening sections of the city’s historic center, and trapping dozens of sightseers in a 200-foot watchtower that came crashing down into a pile of bricks.

As officials in Nepal faced the devastation on Sunday morning, they said that most of the 1,931 deaths occurred in Katmandu and the surrounding valley, and that more than 4,700 people had been injured.

But the quake touched a vast expanse of the subcontinent. It set off avalanches around Mount Everest, where at least 17 climbers died. At least 34 deaths occurred in northern India. Buildings swayed in Tibet and Bangladesh.

The earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.8, struck shortly before noon, and residents of Katmandu ran into the streets and other open spaces as buildings fell, throwing up clouds of dust. Wide cracks opened on paved streets and in the walls of city buildings. Motorcycles tipped over and slid off the edge of a highway.

 Video

Play Video|2:06

A deadly earthquake shook Nepal on Saturday near its capital, Katmandu, and set off avalanches around Mount Everest.

By Rajneesh Bhandari and Colin Archdeacon on Publish Date April 25, 2015.

By midafternoon, the United States Geological Survey had counted 12 aftershocks, one of which measured 6.6.

Seismologists have expected a major earthquake in western Nepal, where there is pent-up pressure from the grinding between tectonic plates, the northern Eurasian plate and the up-thrusting Indian plate. Still, witnesses described a chaotic rescue effort during the first hours after the quake as emergency workers and volunteers grabbed tools and bulldozers from construction sites, and dug with hacksaws, mangled reinforcing bars and their hands.

Though many have worried about the stability of the concrete high-rises that have been hastily erected in Katmandu, the most terrible damage on Saturday was to the oldest part of the city, which is studded with temples and palaces made of wood and unmortared brick.

Four of the area’s seven Unesco World Heritage sites were severely damaged in the earthquake: Bhaktapur Durbar Square, a temple complex built in the shape of a conch shell; Patan Durbar Square, which dates to the third century; Basantapur Durbar Square, which was the residence of Nepal’s royal family until the 19th century; and the Boudhanath Stupa, one of the oldest Buddhist monuments in the Himalayas.

For many, the most breathtaking architectural loss was the nine-story Dharahara Tower, which was built in 1832 on the orders of the queen. The tower had recently reopened to the public, and visitors could ascend a spiral staircase to a viewing platform around 200 feet above the city.

Epicenter of earthquake

with an estimated

magnitude of 7.8

China

Smaller quakes in

the hours afterward

NEPAL

Mount Everest

Pokhara

Areas of

strong shaking

Katmandu

India

100 miles

Epicenter of earthquake

with an estimated

magnitude of 7.8

China

Smaller quakes in

the hours afterward

NEPAL

Mt. Everest

Pokhara

Areas of

strong

shaking

Katmandu

India

100 miles

The walls were brick, around one and a half feet thick, and when the earthquake struck, they came crashing down.

The police said on Saturday that they had pulled about 60 bodies from the rubble of the tower. Kashish Das Shrestha, a photographer and writer, spent much of the day in the old city, but said he still had trouble grasping that the tower was gone.

“I was here yesterday, I was here the day before yesterday, and it was there,” he said. “Today it’s just gone. Last night, from my terrace, I was looking at the tower. And today I was at the tower — and there is no tower.”

Kanak Mani Dixit, a Nepalese political commentator, said he had been having lunch with his parents when the quake struck. The rolling was so intense and sustained that he had trouble getting to his feet, he said. He helped his father and an elderly neighbor to safety in the garden outside and then had to carry his elderly mother.

“And I had time to do all that while the quake was still going on,” Mr. Dixit said. “It was like being on a boat in heavy seas.”

Photographs

Nepal’s Landmarks, Before and After the Earthquake

The earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25 flattened sections of Katmandu’s historic center, where many structures were made with bricks.

OPEN Photographs

Roger Bilham, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Colorado, said the shaking lasted about one minute, although it continued for another minute in some places.

For years, people have worried about an earthquake of this magnitude in western Nepal. Many feared that an immense death toll would result, in part because construction has been largely unregulated in recent years, said Ganesh K. Bhattari, a Nepalese expert on earthquakes, now living in Denmark.

He said the government had made some buildings more robust and reinforced vulnerable ones, but many larger buildings, like hospitals and old-age homes, remained extremely vulnerable. “There is a little bit of improvement,” he said. “But it is really difficult for people to implement the rules and the regulations.”

Kunda Dixit, the editor of The Nepali Times, said that Nepal was still emerging from many years of turmoil — a decade-long war with Maoist insurgents, followed by chronic political uncertainty — and that contingency planning for events like earthquakes had often taken a back seat to “present disasters.”

“The government hasn’t been able to get around to a lot of things, not just disaster preparedness,” Mr. Dixit said.

Continue reading the main story Video

 

Play Video|0:50

Earthquake in Nepal Kills Hundreds

Earthquake in Nepal Kills Hundreds

An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.8 shook Nepal on Saturday near its capital, Katmandu, flattening sections of the city’s historic center.

By Reuters on Publish Date April 25, 2015.

Saturday’s earthquake struck when schools were not in session, which may have reduced the death toll. But there was not yet a full picture of the damage to villages on the mountain ridges around Katmandu, where families live in houses made of mud and thatch.

As night fell, aftershocks were still hitting, prompting waves of screaming. Many residents sat on roads for much of the day, afraid to go back indoors, and many insisted that they would spend the night outside despite the cold. Thousands camped out at the city’s parade ground. The city’s shops were running short of bottled water, dry food and telephone charge cards.

Toward evening, hospitals were trying to accommodate a huge influx of patients, some with amputated limbs, and were running short of supplies like bandages and trauma kits, said Jamie McGoldrick, resident coordinator with the United Nations Development Program in Nepal. Water supplies, a problem under normal circumstances in this fast-growing city, will almost certainly run short, he said.

Search and rescue personnel will face the challenge of reaching villages nearer the quake’s epicenter, about 50 miles northwest of Katmandu, where damage may be catastrophic.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the American ambassador to Nepal, Peter W. Bodde, had issued a disaster declaration that would allow $1 million in humanitarian assistance to be available immediately. A disaster response team and an urban search-and-rescue team from the United States Agency for International Development will also be deployed, he said in a statement,

China and India, which jockey for influence in the region, have pledged disaster assistance.

On Mount Everest, several hundred trekkers were attempting an ascent when the earthquake struck, setting off avalanches, according to climbers there. Alex Gavan, a hiker at base camp, called it a “huge disaster” on Twitter and described “running for life from my tent.” Nima Namgyal Sherpa, a tour guide at base camp, said in a Facebook post that many camps had been destroyed.

Tremors from the quake were felt across northern India, rattling bookcases and light fixtures as far away as New Delhi. Electricity was switched off for safety reasons in the Indian state of Bihar, where three deaths were reported in one district, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, India’s minister of skill development, told reporters in New Delhi. Two deaths were reported in another district.

The region has been the site of the largest earthquakes in the Himalayas, including a 2005 quake in the Kashmir region and a 1905 earthquake in Kangra, India.

 

Beirut is Ridiculously Unprepared for a Major Earthquake

Under the Roman empire, Berytus, the capital of modern-day Lebanon, was known as the Jewel of Phoenicia and motherbed of Law.

The harbor city was a trading hub for luxury gems and spices. Wealthy Romans built holiday villas there, along with towering monuments and dazzling theaters. Its law school gained the city a reputation as “The wet nurse of law“, and a famed center of higher education.n

In 551 AD, the earth broke. A massive earthquake tumbled buildings and sparked a tsunami that wiped the city off the map and killed an estimated 30,000 people.

As Beirut was rebuilding, another earthquake wiped it out again within a decade. It took decades for Beirut to recover its position as a regional capital following the disaster, and even then, it never entirely regained its former glory.

In modern day Lebanon, Beirut’s notoriety stems from its bloody 15-year civil war and its precarious position along a political fault line between regional powers jostling for influence in the tumultuous Middle East.

But it may be the literal fault lines running underneath the country that ultimately present the biggest risk to the tiny Mediterranean country.

Look at a Google satellite map of Lebanon, and you’ll see that the most prominent feature observable from space is a line, at first appearing to be a highway, stretching straight through the center of the country, down from Turkey through the Syrian border in the north, to Palestine in the south.

The line is a fold in the topography that was created by the Yammouneh fault line, one of 3 major cracks in the earth’s surface under Lebanon that put it at high risk for another quake.

The Serghaya fault line, runs to the east, under the Bekka Valley.

A third major fault system, the Mount Lebanon Thrust, running just off the coast of Lebanon, was only discovered in 2003 when geologists surveyed the area after decades of war suspended research for 25 years.

“We live in a very special place on the surface of the planet,” says Ata Elias, assistant professor of geology at the American University of Beirut. “Lebanon is just there between these plates. Earthquakes do happen here and we have had major earthquakes.”

Elias says the country is overdue for another major quake.

In 1759, two quakes, one month apart and each measuring 7 on the Richter scale, killed some 40,000 people in Lebanon and Syria.

Lebanon witnessed an earthquake in 1956, and the citizens had to suffer “The earthquake tax” for two decades.

The Yammouneh fault line produces an earthquake about once every 8 to 10 centuries, and the Mount Lebanon Thrust every 15 to 17 centuries. Both have the potential to generate earthquakes of up to 7.5 in magnitude.

“We are at a time when both fault lines have had enough time to produce another earthquake. But how soon, no one can really say,” says Elias.

What he can say, however, is that the current level of preparedness for such an event means it will result in catastrophe of unimaginable proportions.

More than 70% or Lebanon’s roughly four million people live along the coast. Beirut has a population of approximately 1.5 million, with most cramped into dense, poorly constructed residential housing.

Those residential buildings, built into picturesque hills — pushed up by pressure from the earth’s movement over centuries — or on soft, sandy coastal soil are not built to withstand a quake of such magnitude.

A law passed in 1994 says all new construction must be built according to standards incorporating seismic resistance. But most residential buildings are old, built before these laws were introduced. And with little government oversight, construction laws are rarely enforced.

“Lebanon is not prepared for this at all,” says Mohammed Harajli, a professor of civil engineering at AUB. “There is a requirement that every building over four-and-a-half stories should be resistant, but the problem is in supervision. There are no strict laws for monitoring and implementation. The country is too busy with the political situation to take this seriously.”

To help mitigate the risk, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is working with the prime minister’s office on a project to help the Lebanese government develop its disaster management and risk reduction strategy.

Signed in 2009, the Disaster Risk Management Project has developed a National Response Plan to deal specifically with natural or man-made disasters, including earthquakes, which feature high on the list.

Project manager for the project Nathalie Zahrour says that, while progress has been made, there is still a long way to go and the NRP has yet to be endorsed by the Cabinet.

“Risk reduction is everybody’s responsibility and the government has a major role at the institutional, sectoral and local level to play. The Lebanese Government has committed to giving DRM high priority,” says Zahrour.

“Making Lebanon resilient to disasters is a long process; laws need to be issued and approved, the National Disaster Management Agency needs to be developed, funding needs to be channelled. Nevertheless, we are determined to become a flagship of resilience.”

Crucial to saving lives, according to Harajli, is public and industry awareness.

“If we design our structures for earthquakes and observe international regulations, we save a lot of lives,” he says. “The cost of making a building earthquake resistant does not add that much to the cost of the building. It’s 5% maximum.

Elias agrees, and says waiting for the next big one to hit is not an option. “We need something to shake people into being prepared for this. If we get a major quake, the face of the country will be changed dramatically. Otherwise we will be another Haiti.”

Haiti: How may we live in peace? (Jan. 13, 2010)

            May Peace be among the livings. Hundreds of thousands in the capital of Haiti, Port of Prince, died and are injured under the rubbles of a major earthquake.  Haiti is the poorest State in the Americas and may be in the world. The soil is movable and the building at not erected according to modern standards. Nature and the universe have their own clock and space.  Human kind shares one kind of brain to perceive his nature and universe. Other living creatures have their brains to perceive their natures and universes. The other living creatures have equal rights to share nature with us.  Can we learn not to tamper with nature and the environment to suit our perception?  

We can control, and we should control our behaviors. Controlling our behavior is what we are permitted to achieve for a sustainable earth.Peace be among the living.


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