They say the morning shows the day. It was April 25, and the saying couldn’t be truer. The morning was black, with little to no sunlight visible. Although it was a Saturday and a holiday in Nepal, the day was dark. It was almost mid-day when the ground beneath started shaking, things that were mounted on the wall started falling, and cracks began to appear in the walls.
The powerful earthquake lasted for just 56 seconds, but it took away the dreams of thousands and left whole cities in rubble. Here are the key facts about the 2015 Nepal Earthquake.
2015 Nepal Earthquake Facts and Figures
Date: April 25, 2015 11:56am Nepal Standard Time (GMT +5:45)
April 2015 Nepal Earthquake Epicenter Map
Image Source: USGS
Hypocenter: at a depth of 8.2 km
Epicenter: Barpak, a village in central-western Nepal
82 km west of Kathmandu
74 km east of Pokhara
7.6 on the Richter Scale (ML) – as reported by Nepal’s National Seismological Center
7.8 on the Moment Magnitude Scale (Mw) – as reported by United States Geological Survey
8.1 on the surface scale (MS) – as reported by China Earthquake Networks Center
Mercalli Intensity: IX (Violent)
Rupture Area: 120 x 80 km, directed eastwards and towards Kathmandu
Shockwaves reach: Tremors were felt as far as Thimpu (Bhutan) and Dhaka (Bangladesh) in the east, Patna (India) to the South, New Delhi (India) to the west and (Tibet, China) in the north
The April 25 quake is named “Gorkha Earthquake” by National Seismological Department of Nepal since the epicenter was on the Gorkha district in Nepal. It was the worst natural calamity to hit Nepal in 81 years. The last violent earthquake was recorded in 1934 which killed over 10,000 in Nepal alone and other thousands in neighboring India.
Aftershocks of Nepal earthquake
The list of aftershocks of the 2015 Nepal Earthquake is astounding. In a one-month period from April 25 to May 25, the initial quake has triggered more than 30,000 big and small aftershocks in the rupture zone. The biggest aftershock occurred after 18 days on May 12, 2015, which was recorded as 6.8 Richters by Nepal’s Seismo Center (7.3Mw). The second largest occurred one day later on April 26 with magnitude 6.6 Richters (6.7Mw).
Until July 28, more than 399 aftershocks above M4.0 on the Richter scale have been recorded by the National Seismological Center, Nepal. On May 12, a violent aftershock measuring 7.3M rocked Nepal with its epicenter east of Kathmandu. Kathmandu and surrounding residents who had just started to go back to normal life faced another traumatic event. This aftershock killed hundreds and injured thousands more.
As of October 30, 2016, more than 472 significant aftershocks above M4.0 have occurred.
Casualties of 2015 Nepal Earthquake
Photo from YouTube
Number of casualties by the mainshock: 8678 (Nepal), 130 (India), 27 (China), 4 (Bangladesh)
Number of injuries by the mainshock: More than 18,839 (Nepal), 560 (India), 383 (China), 200 (Bangladesh)
Number of casualties by the May 12 aftershock: 178 (Nepal)
Number of injuries by the May 12 aftershock: 3470 (Nepal)
Video: Powerful mainshock of April 25 completely destroys a huge gate in Tundikhel, Kathmandu
Almost 1,000 people were immediately reported as dead within an hour of the quake. Due to the soft alluvial soil and dense urbanization, the capital Kathmandu was among the worst-hit. The 200-year old Bhimsen Tower collapsed in the initial quake killing people. Sindhupalchowk district to the east of Kathmandu was another big wreck. The entire village of Barpak and Laprak in Gorkha were completely flattened. Rumors of more earthquakes in Nepal swallowed everyone’s confidence.
Landslides in Everest and Langtang
Video: Everest Avalanche triggered by the quake
The earthquake triggered a violent avalanche in Mount Everest. The avalanche killed 20 people including a Google employee. Landslides in Langtang trekking route (north of Kathmandu) also left tens of people dead and much more are still missing. 28 people were reported to have been killed from the April 25 quake.
Houses in Kathmandu that were built on a softer soil and those that were built without following the building code crumbled into pieces. Particularly, places in the outskirts of the Kathmandu valley (Balaju, Gongabu, Bungamati) were among the worst hit ones.
Relief and the Internet
No one can predict an earthquake.
Not even Google. And despite Facebook coming head-to-head with the biggest technology companies, it doesn’t even come close. However, both were equally generous and helped people in times of need. When the M7.8 earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, there was nothing these tech giants could do to warn people. However, they quickly realized that people needed information – and information is what they were exactly selling all along.
Facebook made sure we knew our loved ones were safe.
Facebook’s Safety Check Feature Activated to all Facebook accounts within Nepal and surrounding areas like India and Bangladesh.
Image: Screenshot from Facebook
Facebook’s “safety check” feature let our friends and families know that we were safe in the earthquake. Who knew a service so tiny could end up being a boon to people? If any of your Facebook friends were staying and using Facebook in the area of the earthquake, it would send you a notification every time one of your friends was marked safe/unsafe.I, for one, had internet access the third day of the quake (on Monday), and was really glad to see this service. Several of my friends abroad had tried contacting me on the phone (also dead) and they were worried. I was delighted to find out that a Nepali friend, who knew I was fine, had already marked me safe. In times when mobile networks were not fully functional, this neat Facebook feature saved worries and gave a breath of relief to thousands of families and friends abroad and in Nepal.
Facebook raised $15 million for Nepal within days!
Facebook’s feature for donating to the victims of the earthquake
Image: Screenshot from Facebook
In addition, Facebook itself donated $2 million for local recovery in the affected areas. It is really nice to see international companies and multinational companies coming in together to help the people in need like brothers.
What comes useful when you don’t know if a person is missing or found? A search database. Google exactly did that.
Person Finder page activated by Google for Nepal
Image: Screenshot from GPF
Person Finder was started by Google so that people who did not have even internet access could know if a particular person is found and is safe. The service is a free, crowd-sourced search engine, that allows people to input someone’s name and identity. If another person finds him, he could log into the database and mark him.
As of now, the database has 8,700 records of missing and found persons.
Viber and Skype
According to the Google Play Store, Viber is the 9th most popular app in Nepal, and arguably the most-used calling application. To help people reach out to their loved ones, Viber made all “Viber out” calls free. Users could call any local or international call from the internet and they would not be charged a single penny.
Viber continued this service for 18 days, and it had plans to terminate it starting May 12. However, after the 7.3 aftershock the same day, Viber did not cancel this feature. Further, all international users who used Viber abroad, could call Nepal for free using this service.
Viber also teamed up with NCell, the largest mobile network operator of Nepal, to provide free Viber service. When anyone used NCell network to call using Viber, they would not be charged for the data. Similarly, Skype also made all calls free to Nepal.
Photo: Nepal Telecom
Owing to the fact that people will find it hard to spend money in immediate after-crisis hours, Nepal Telecom made all calls and data free throughout Nepal. This gave an immense relief to over 1.8 million people who use services by Nepal Telecom (Namaste prepaid, postpaid, CDMA).
In additon, Nepal Telecom made all international calls from Nepal free. It was learned that NT had given away more than NRs. 4 million of calls free of cost. Seven blessings to Nepal Telecom!
Nepal Police makes the most out of social media!
@NepalPoliceHQ has been one of the biggest things Nepalese people become grateful for. Through Twitter, it has not only been sending updates about earthquake and the affected areas, it has also been debunking rumors and hoaxes.
With a team of 10 social media managers in the headquarters, Nepal Police has been providing frequent updates about affected roads, traffic situations, fire hazards and relief works. It has also been monitoring the whole Nepali internet for false news on the earthquake.