by Spencer Overbay
On Saturday, April 25, 2015, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake rattled the mountain country of Nepal, decimating small villages, cutting power from the capital city, and burying the Everest base camp in snow. The earthquake came as a surprise with many people going about their daily lives before their sudden deaths. The death toll is now estimated to be above 6000, but will likely be much greater due to the number of bodies not found and the even greater number of injured people. Some remote villages haven’t even been assessed by rescue workers, meaning the death toll could be even greater.
Aftershocks continue to shake the country, making even buildings that still stand an unsafe place for shelter. Since the initial earthquake there have been over a hundred aftershocks, one on Sunday April 26 even reached a magnitude of 6.7. Although rescue attempts are still under way, the capital city of Kathmandu is becoming overcrowded with refugees. Most of it’s buildings aren’t safe to take shelter in, and there simply isn’t enough food and water to go around.
Saurav Rana, a consultant for the World Bank and resident of Kathmandu had this to say during a radio interview for Nation Public Radio. “People should understand … our monuments, our heritage has been destroyed. And that’s completely demoralized the population… Imagine the monuments in D.C. or the Lincoln Memorial, you know, imagine them being brought down to rubble.”
Tragically, the disaster could have been lessened greatly if it wasn’t for the poverty-stricken nation’s poor infrastructure. Nearly all of Nepal’s buildings were not reinforced, causing them to crumble immediately under the initial quake. A testament to the effectiveness of reinforced buildings is the National Museum in the capital, which was recently reinforced to withstand an earthquake. The museum still stands while other buildings around it have crumbled.