Wednesday October 17, 2018
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Nepal earthquake leaves more than 1800 dead, mountaineers missing from Mt Everest

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Image: Prabhas Sharma
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Image: Prabhas Sharma
Image: Prabhas Sharma

By NewGram Staff Writer

An earthquake with an intensity of 7.9 on ritcher scale with epicenter 77 kilometer north-west of Kathmandu has killed more than 1800 people and triggered a deadly avalanche.

The impact of the earthquake was also felt in almost all northern States in India particularly in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal.

As per the latest information, 34 deaths have been confirmed in India so far with 23 deaths in Bihar, 8 in Uttar Pradesh and 3 in West Bengal. In order to deal with the situation in the affected States, 5 teams of National Disaster Response Force( NDRF) have already been sent; one team to Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and one each to Darbhanga, Supaul, Motihari and Gopalganj in Bihar.

An avalanche caused by the quake also struck Mt Everest, killing 18 people. According to sources, there were about 1,000 climbers, including about 400 foreigners at the base camp or on Everest when the disaster struck.

Here is some important information related to the earthquake:

-The magnitude of the quake was 7.9 at a depth of 10 Km with its epicentral region located in Nepal about 80 Km North West of Kathmandu. Its latitude and longitude were 28.1 N and 84.6 E respectively. A broad graphical representation of the earthquake showing the magnitude in varying colours as on the right of the graphic is as below:

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– A report by the Seismic Division of the Indian Meteorological Department said major damage was expected in and around the epicentral region.

– The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) in the Cabinet Secretariat met and reviewed the situation through video-conferencing with the Chief Secretaries of affected States. The NCMC will be meeting regularly to take stock of the situation and the relief measures.

-The Central Government is in constant touch with the States and monitoring the situation very closely. The States will be provided with all possible help from the Central Government.

-Control Rooms  have been set up both in MHA and NDMA with following numbers:-011- 2309 3564, 23093566 (MHA Control Room ), 011-26701728, 26701729, 9868881801(M) – (NDMA Control Room) Meanwhile , an inter Governmental coordination cell has been set up in Cabinet Secretariat which will coordinate all relief measures for Nepal as well as for Indian States. This will function on round-the-clock basis and the phone numbers are :- 011- 2301 6633, 2379 2281.

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9 Climbers Pulled From Snow After A Sudden Storm On Mount Gurja, Nepal

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

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Mount Gurja
Tourists take pictures at Sarangkot in Pokhara, with the view of the Mount Annapurna range in the background, some 200 km (124 miles) west of Kathmandu, Nov. 30, 2008. Annapurna, at 8,091 meters high, is the 10th highest mountain in the world.. VOA

A rescue team Sunday began retrieving the bodies of nine climbers killed in a violent storm on Nepal’s Mount Gurja, a freak accident that has left the mountaineering community reeling.

A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp where the South Korean climbing expedition was staying when powerful winds and snow swept through, killing the entire team and scattering their bodies as far as 500 meters (yards) away.

“All nine bodies have been found and the team are in the process of bringing them down,” said Siddartha Gurung, a chopper pilot who is coordinating the retrieval mission.

Mount Gurja
A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp.

A second helicopter along with a team of rescue specialists and villagers were also involved in the mission, which has been hampered by strong winds as well as the camp’s remoteness in the Dhaulagiri mountain range of Nepal’s Annapurna region.

The bodies of the climbers, five South Koreans and four Nepalis, will be flown to Pokhara, a tourist hub that serves as a gateway to the Annapurna region, and then to Kathmandu, said Yogesh Sapkota of Simrik Air, a helicopter company involved in the effort.

‘Like a bomb went off’

The expedition’s camp was destroyed by the powerful storm, which hit the area late Thursday or Friday, flattening all the tents and leaving a tangled mess of tarpaulin and broken polls.

“Base camp looks like a bomb went off,” said Dan Richards of Global Rescue, a U.S.-based emergency assistance group that will be helping with the retrieval effort.

Mount Gurja
Wangchu Sherpa of Trekking Camp Nepal, organised the expedition

The expedition was led by experienced South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, who has climbed the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen.

Experts puzzled

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

Also Read: Nepal Saves Its Tiger Population, Doubles It

“At this point we don’t understand how this happened. You don’t usually get those sorts of extreme winds at that altitude and base camps are normally chosen because they are safe places,” Richards said.

The team had been on 7,193-meter (23,599-foot) Mount Gurja since early October, hoping to scale the rarely climbed mountain via a new route. (VOA)