Nepal Earthquake

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background and causes

  •  Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a HDI of 0.540 (145th in the world) and a GDP of $649 per annum. Nepal is an LDC, as recognised by the UN.
  •         The earthquake occurred at 11:26 (local time) on Saturday the 25th of April
  •         Estimated at 7.8 to 7.9 on the Richter scale.
  •         Aftershocks followed, one at 6.7 on Sunday the 26th of April
  •         On 12 May 2015 at 12:35 another massive aftershock occurred with a moment magnitude of 7.3. The epicenter was near the Chinese border between the capital of Kathmandu and Mt. Everest. More than 200 people were killed and more than 2,500 were injured by this aftershock


  • It was approximately 80 km to the northwest of the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu
  • The earthquake occurred as the result of thrust faulting on or near the main frontal thrust between the subducting India plate and the overriding Eurasia plate to the north.
  • The Indian plate is converging (colliding) with Eurasia at a rate of 45 mm/yr towards the north-northeast, driving the uplift of the Himalayan mountain range.
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The earthquake's effects were amplified in Kathmandu as it sits on the Kathmandu Basin, which contains up to 600 m of sedimentary rocks, representing the infilling of a lake. 

The earthquake was also predicted by seismologist Vinod Kumar Gaur in 2013 who stated "Calculations show that there is sufficient accumulated energy [in the Main Frontal Thrust], now to produce an 8 magnitude earthquake. I cannot say when. It may not happen tomorrow, but it could possibly happen sometime this century, or wait longer to produce a much larger one.

Much of the population in this region live in houses that are highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking: unreinforced brick masonry

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Social impacts

8,632 dead (Official death toll)

19,009 injured (Official)

 Worst earthquake in Nepal in more than 80 years

 Temperatures dip in Nepal at night, and people chose to sleep outside due to aftershocks or houses collapsing

 Hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless with entire villages flattened

 1.7 million children had been driven out into the open

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Economic impacts

Centuries-old buildings were destroyed at UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley, including some at the Changu Narayan Temple and the Dharahara Tower.

 Thousands of houses were destroyed across many districts of the country

 Harvests reduced or lost this season

 U.S. Geological Survey initially estimated economic losses at 9 percent to 50 percent of gross domestic product, with a best guess of 35 percent.

 Short term loss of tourist revenue, a major industry in Nepal, is expected

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Environmental impacts

The earthquake triggered avalanche on Mount Everest, killing 17 people. Estimates put the number of trekkers and climbers at base camp at the time of the quake at up to 1000


The steep valleys of the area suffered many landslides, the village of Ghodatabela was covered killing 250 people

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