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2015

Magnitude 7.8 earthquake kills thousands in Nepal

On April 25, 2015 a magnitude 7.8 earthquake tore through Nepal, killing nearly 9,000 and injuring 16,800. It was the worst such earthquake for the Asian country since 1934.

The earthquake struck shortly before noon, but the devastation continued as several dozen aftershocks caused even more destruction. Overall, Nepal was shaken by hundreds of aftershocks, the largest striking at a 7.3 magnitude on May 12. The quake also induced an avalanche on Mount Everest that killed 19 people.

By the time the tremors stopped, more than 800,000 homes were destroyed and more than 298,000 were damaged. The quake also damaged several iconic monuments, like the capital’s Durbar Square. In all, 2.8 million people were displaced, made homeless by the devastation—or by their fear of more tremors. Of these, countless numbers moved into “tent cities,” too afraid to return to their homes. The United Nations estimated 8 million people in total—nearly a third of Nepal’s population—were affected by the quake and its aftershocks.

The Nepalese government declared a state of emergency right after the initial shocks hit, and virtually the entire army took to the streets in a search-and-rescue operation. Dozens of countries, and the United Nations, pitched in with aid and fundraising.

Unfortunately, repair efforts met with many obstacles along the way. Congestion, along with lack of transportation such as trucks and helicopters, made reaching remote villages very challenging. Political squabbles and a lack of supplies slowed rebuilding efforts as well. By 2017, only 5 percent of homes had been rebuilt and only 12 percent of recovery funds raised had been distributed. Recovery and rebuilding still continues, slowly, today.

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