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Nepal quake as powerful as 20 atomic bombs; toll crosses 3500

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Located at the susceptible juncture of the Eurasian and the Indian tectonic plate, the two giant plates that push up Everest by a few millimetres every year, Nepal has seen its fair share of earthquakes over the years.

Not many as powerful as the earthquake that ripped it apart on Saturday though.

According to an expert the earthquake that wreaked havoc in the Himalayan nation had the power of 20 thermonuclear atomic bombs, the Independent reported.

The impact was amplified due to the shallowness of the epicenter of earthquake. Striking at 10-15 kms from the ground, the tremors were felt more strongly because there was virtually  no earth to absorb the shock.

The aftershocks that followed were no less in impact. The tremor that occurred just half an hour after the main earthquake, struck with a whopping magnitude of 6.6. More than 20 others have followed since.

The only solace is provided by the fact that the disaster could have been even worse. Had the earthquake struck the sand and silt areas of Nepal, instead of the solid bedrock of the most impacted regions, the damage would have been compounded manifold.

Officials say more than 3500 people have lost their lives in the disaster till now. The death toll is expected to rise as the devastation becomes clearer.

Also, an additional 6500 people have been seriously injured according to the National Emergency Operation Centre.

Meanwhile, almost 90 per cent of the army is out on search and rescue operations.

Army spokesman Jagdish Pokhrel said, “Just about every member of Nepal’s 100,000-soldier army is currently involved in rescue operations.”

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Fear of Leprosy Resurgence in Nepal

There are only three staff working in the leprosy section and the same team looks after the disability programme, as well, he told the newspaper

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Leprosy, Wikimedia

Health officials in Nepal fear leprosy resurgence in the country with prevalence rate reaching 0.94 per cent in 2018.

Leprosy-free status was given to the Himalayan nation after it declared elimination of the disease in 2009. However, that status could be lost if prevalence rate reaches one per cent of total population, Kathmandu Post reported on Thursday.

Experts already fear that this marks the resurgence of the disease in Nepal. The percentage could be more, an official said, as the current given figures have been derived just from preliminary data.

The Leprosy Control and Disability (LCD) section of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) of Department of Health Services said that the prevalence rate was 0.92 and 0.89 in 2017 and 2016, respectively, the news report said.

“It will be a great setback for the country if it loses the status,” said Rabindra Baskota, a doctor and chief of the LCD section.

Incubation period of leprosy varies from one to 20 years and diagnosis of more patients could help stop the further spread of the disease, according to him.

An amputated leg, claw toes and claw hands of leprosy patient Gopal Bag are seen at the Leprosy Mission Trust India hospital. Kolkata. VOA

“It will take only a couple of years to reach one percent if this upward trend continues,” he added.

The prevalence rate is over one per cent in various districts of the Tarai region, Baskota said, adding that the country had received the leprosy eliminated status, after reducing its prevalence rate by 0.77 per cent, in 2009.

Sishir Silwal, a focal person for the leprosy control programme in Gulmi district, said regular review meetings for leprosy, which should be held every four months, has not been held for the last eight months.

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Kathmandu Post quoted Bibek Kumar Lal, Director at EDCD, as saying that there is a severe crunch in manpower that hinders proper functioning.

There are only three staff working in the leprosy section and the same team looks after the disability programme, as well, he told the newspaper.

Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, is transmitted through nasal secretion or from droplets from the mouth. It affects the skin, peripheral nerves and eyes, leading to disfigurement and nerve damage. The disease is curable with a multi-drug therapy. (IANS)

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