Tips & Resources

Earthquake Disaster in Nepal: Intrepid 24/7’s Informational Guide

By the Intrepid 24/7 Content Team

The mountainous, South Asian country of Nepal suffered a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on Saturday, April 25th, resulting in widespread damage and devastation. To date, there are estimated to be more than 4,500 deaths and 8,000 people injured, with numbers still rising.

The earthquake, whose epicentre hit 80 km northwest of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, spread to several small villages and triggered an avalanche that hit Mount Everest’s base camp, which killed 18 climbers, injured a number of other foreign climbers, and affected thousands of local citizens. Over 200 climbers have now been rescued from Mount Everest, though an unknown number still remain. Communities that are particularly close to mountainsides are said to have suffered significant damage, with reports indicating that entire villages of anywhere from 200-1,000 people could be completely buried by rock falls. It has also been reported that dozens of people in China, India, and Tibet – neighbouring countries to Nepal – have also been killed as a result of the earthquake.

Many tent camps have been hastily constructed in Kathmandu, as those displaced are not yet willing to go back home, afraid that aftershocks or another earthquake may cause further damage and fatalities. There is a shortage of food, water, and electricity in the affected areas, and many are afraid that an outbreak of disease will follow. Eighty kilometres west of Kathmandu, in Dhading district, the power has not returned and the local hospital is struggling to cope with overcrowded conditions.

A number of local, national, and international organizations (including foreign governments) have already pledged to assist the devastated country; some have set up fundraising efforts while others have sent experts to the site of the disaster. Aid has been slow to arrive in the capital and remote villages have difficulty even communicating their condition and needs. The Nepalese government’s resources have been stretched thin and the government does not have the capacity to provide comprehensive assistance. International aid organizations and foreign governments have stepped in to fill the void.

The Canadian government has pledged $5 million for disaster relief efforts, and will also send a disaster aid team to Nepal. Other Canadian organizations like the Canadian Red Cross, Care Canada, Médecins Sans Frontières Canada, GlobalMedic, World Vision Canada, UNICEF Canada, and Shelter Box Canada plan to send staff and other forms of support. Several international governmental organizations have similarly pledged millions of dollars to help relief efforts in the country.

Unfortunately, congestion at the main airport in Kathmandu has caused many delays, with some reporters noting that both relief flights and non-relief flights are being forced to turn back because the airport is at capacity. Other reports claim that some countries, namely the neighbouring India, have been able to evacuate their citizens. Some travellers who remain stranded in the airport have been told that they might not leave the country until early May. The situation remains fluid, and will continue to be monitored closely by experts and reporters worldwide.

With an estimated 300,000 foreigners in Nepal, travel assistance companies are helping clients stay safe and informed. Assistance companies, like Intrepid 24/7, provide organizations and individual travellers with support to safely navigate through a crisis, as well as coordinate evacuation for a safe return home. Intrepid 24/7’s Travel Navigator™ mobile and web application provides geo-location to keep track of travellers’ whereabouts, and real-time alerts for travellers to receive ongoing updates at their fingertips. Furthermore, an emergency assistance button connects travellers to multilingual consultants who are available 24/7, who can provide the logistical and advisory assistance travellers need to stay safe in the aftermath of a disaster.

References:

BBC (2015). Nepal earthquake: ‘Nine out of 10 soldiers’ in rescue mission. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32483119

CBC (2015). Nepal earthquake: Death toll rises to over 4,000. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/nepal-earthquake-death-toll-rises-to-over-3-700-1.3049863

The Globe and Mail (2015). ‘Complete chaos’ at Nepal airport as foreigners try to leave quake stricken country. Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/complete-chaos-at-nepal-airport-as-foreigners-try-to-leave-quake-stricken-country/article24128602/

New Delhi Television (2015). Nepal earthquake: Flights resume, 100s waiting to be evacuated. Retrieved from http://www.ndtv.com/cheat-sheet/india-sends-inter-ministerial-team-to-coordinate-relief-efforts-in-nepal-flights-today-delayed-758426

Toronto Star (2015). Nepal earthquake: A roundup of relief efforts. Retrieved from http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/04/25/nepal-earthquake-a-roundup-of-relief.html