A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal at 06:11 UTC on 25 April 2015. The epicentre was about 80km North West of the capital Kathmandu. Several aftershocks have occurred since then, notably a 6.6 magnitude aftershock around 30 min after yesterday’s main event and another one of 6.7 magnitude at 07.09 UTC today. The EU-UN Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) issued a RED alert (implying a serious disaster that will probably require international assistance) at 06:18 UTC, 7 minutes after the occurrence of the main earthquake event. The Union’s Copernicus Emergency Management System was activated on 25 April.
This is the worst earthquake in Nepal since 1934, when some 8,500 people were killed. The earthquake and aftershocks have caused heavy damage and numerous casualties in the vulnerable and landslide-prone country. Out of 75 districts, 30 are reported affected; most heavily affected appear to be the greater Kathmandu area and the districts of Gorkha and Lamjung, North West of the capital. As of late afternoon today, international media and government sources report more than 2000 people dead in Nepal (at least 700 in Kathmandu), 51 in India (Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal) and 17 in Tibet. Numerous old buildings have collapsed and many landslides are blocking road transport and relief efforts. At least 6000 people are reported injured and local hospitals have difficulties coping with the emergency. The number of casualties is expected to rise. Casualties and damage of a lesser scale are reported also in India (around 50 people killed) and China.
International aid in the form of rescue teams and relief provisions has started to arrive in Nepal, after the government officially asked for aid. DG ECHO is deploying two experts, respectively from Bangkok and New Delhi, who should arrive on site on 26 April.