Monday, June 1, 2015

Searching Through the Rubble of Nepal

Sorry I lost my love for such things. Even the Globe took a couple days rest.

"Second major quake compounds Nepal misery; Dozens more are killed as weak buildings give way" by Ellen Barry New York Times  May 13, 2015

NEW DELHI — A powerful earthquake shook eastern Nepal on Tuesday, shattering the halting recovery from the earthquake that hit the country less than three weeks ago, and causing loose hillsides and cracked buildings to give way and collapse.

By late afternoon, Nepal’s National Emergency Operation Center had reported 42 deaths and 1,117 injuries from Tuesday’s earthquake, which the US Geological Survey assigned a preliminary magnitude of 7.3. The death toll from the April 25 earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.8, has reached 8,159 and continues to rise.

Residents and office workers ran screaming into the streets when the temblor struck, shortly after noon, and people described mud and clouds of dust rising up as cracked structures fell and fearing the approach of a predicted storm.

The latest major earthquake came just as ordinary life was returning to Nepal, its streets once again alive with vegetable markets and dumpling stands.



“They were just starting to feel comfortable,” and I'm no longer comfortable reading such things.

"People spent the night in tents or under plastic tarps. Meanwhile, a US Marine Corps helicopter carrying six Marines and two Nepalese soldiers remained missing. It had been delivering disaster aid Tuesday in the country’s northeast, US officials said. There have been no indications the aircraft crashed. The magnitude-7.8 earthquake that hit April 25 killed more than 8,150 people and flattened entire villages, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless in the country’s worst quake since 1934. The US Geological Survey said Tuesday’s earthquake was the largest aftershock of the April quake. But it was significantly less powerful and occurred farther below the surface. Tuesday’s quake killed 16 people in northern India and one person in Tibet. On Wednesday, Jamie McGoldrick, a top UN official in Nepal, said the United Nations revised its donor appeal to provide $423 million. The response to the earlier appeal of $415 million has been low, with about 15 percent of the sum received."

More buried rubble for you.

"All feared dead after US copter crash in Nepal" by Annie Gowen Washington Post  May 16, 2015

NEW DELHI — The helicopter crash was a reminder of the risks that rescue and aid workers will face in the days ahead as they help Nepal recover from the twin blows of the April 25 earthquake that left more than 8,000 dead and Tuesday’s 7.3-magnitude aftershock that killed at least 100 people in Nepal, northern India, and Tibet.

The region will probably continue to have aftershocks, specialists say, and the threat of landslides and avalanches continues, especially as the rainy season sets in. Wind, rain, and plunging temperatures at the crash site, at an altitude of about 11,000 feet, forced Wissler to cancel the recovery operation for Friday.

‘‘This tragedy is a reminder of the vital but dangerous role that American servicemembers play in delivering humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,’’ Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said in a statement Friday. But, he added, ‘‘Our mission continues in Nepal.’’

I wonder what is the real mission.

President Obama also expressed condolences to the families of the six Marines and two Nepali Army soldiers. Obama said the Marines ‘‘represent a truth that guides our work around the world: When our friends are in need, America helps.’’


Related: 'Israeli aid to Nepal was cover for baby trafficking'

Just helping out friends:

"All eight bodies recovered at site of US copter crash in Nepal" by Binaj Gurubacharya Associated Press  May 16, 2015

KATHMANDU, Nepal — The bodies of all eight people on board the US Marine helicopter that crashed during a relief mission in earthquake-hit Nepal have been recovered, Nepal’s army said Saturday.

The wreckage of the UH-1 ‘‘Huey’’ was found Friday after days of intense searching in the mountains northeast of the capital, Kathmandu. The first three charred bodies were retrieved the same day by Nepalese and US military teams. The Nepalese army said in a statement Saturday that the remaining five were also recovered.

The aircraft, with six Marines and two Nepali soldiers on board, vanished while delivering aid on Tuesday.

Lieutenant General John Wissler, commander of the Marine-led joint task force, said in Kathmandu on Friday that his team could not immediately determine the cause of the crash or identify the bodies found.

He described the crash as ‘‘severe,’’ and said the recovery team encountered extreme weather and difficult terrain.

The wreckage was located about 15 miles from the town of Charikot, near where the aircraft disappeared while delivering humanitarian aid to villages hit by two deadly earthquakes.

The area is near Gothali village in the district of Dolakha, about 50 miles northeast of Kathmandu.

The US relief mission was deployed soon after a magnitude-7.8 quake hit April 25, killing more than 8,200 people. It was followed by a magnitude-7.3 quake on Tuesday that killed at least 117 people and injured about 2,800.

The helicopter had been delivering rice and tarpaulins in Charikot, the area worst hit by Tuesday’s quake.

US military officials said earlier in the week that an Indian helicopter in the air nearby had heard radio chatter from the Huey aircraft about a possible fuel problem.

A total of 300 US military personnel have been supporting the aid mission in Nepal.

On Saturday, Elhadj As Sy, secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross, said an appeal had been made for $93 million to help some 700,000 earthquake survivors over the next two years.

The UN General Assembly on Friday called for urgent assistance to help Nepal’s earthquake survivors and to rebuild the impoverished Himalayan nation.

It urged the international community to support the UN’s appeal for $415 million for essential needs over the next three months.


Related: Bodies of Marines in Nepal crash ID’d

The Globe didn't ID this.

"Nepalese flee villages amid flood fears" Associated Press  May 25, 2015

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Thousands of people fled villages and towns along a mountain river in northwest Nepal on Sunday after it was blocked by a landslide that could burst and cause flash floods, officials said.

The landslide created a dam and a lake about a mile long on the Kaligandaki River, said government administrator Yam Bahadur Chokhal.

Residents living on the banks of the river were moved to higher ground out of fear the river could burst and send floods through the area north of Beni Bazaar, about 125 miles northwest of the capital, Kathmandu. Soldiers and police officers were sent to monitor the river and help and warn the villagers.

Two powerful earthquakes devastated Nepal on April 25 and May 12, killing nearly 8,700 people and injuring 16,800 others. The quakes and aftershocks also triggered many landslides in the Himalayan nation.

In 2002, dozens of people were killed when an avalanche held back the nearby Seti River, which then burst through the snow blockage and sent water gushing through villages along its banks.

Earlier this week, geologists were sent to earthquake-damaged mountain villages to assess the landslide risks.

Home Ministry official Laxmi Prasad Dhakal said crews have only a few weeks to get the remaining people to safer areas and it is going to be a big challenge. The government was also trying to get heavy equipment to mountain villages before landslides block the highways and roads.


Not that big of one:

"Schools reopen in areas of Nepal worst hit by earthquakes" Associated Press  June 01, 2015

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Thousands of schools in the districts worst hit by two major earthquakes in Nepal reopened Sunday.

With most school buildings damaged or unsafe, the Education Ministry ordered that classes be held in temporary classrooms.

The earthquakes on April 25 and May 12 killed 8,693 people and injured 22,221 others.

It is estimated that more than 90 percent of schools were destroyed in the worst-hit districts of Gorkha, Sindhupalchok, and Nuwakot.

According to a UNICEF statement, 32,000 classrooms were destroyed and 15,352 classrooms were damaged after the earthquakes in Nepal.

Nepal’s high dropout rate was already a major concern, UNICEF said, adding there were an estimated 985,000 children who could not return to classes on Sunday, thus facing a great risk of dropping out of school.

Niraj Kayanstha, a teacher at Changuranayan school, east of Kathmandu, told state-run Radio Nepal that about half of the 400 students came to school on Sunday.

They were not studying but singing and dancing and talking to teachers about their experience during the earthquakes.

Government inspectors who were sent to the schools gave green stickers for safe buildings or red stickers for damaged ones.

On Friday, people in the Nepal mountaineering business and a few climbers held a quiet observance of Everest Day, which marks the conquest of the world’s tallest peak 62 years ago.

The April earthquake triggered an avalanche that swept away much of the base camp and killed 19 people.

The low-key gathering in Kathmandu reflected concerns about the future of mountaineering in Nepal, a vital source of income for guides and for the nation’s economy. The quake cut the spring climbing season short. The 2014 spring climbing season also ended early, after an avalanche killed 16 Sherpa guides.

Each year, thousands of foreigners attempt to conquer the soaring Himalayan peaks. Sherpas can earn up to $7,000 after a successful summit bid.


You can sift through the rest of the rubble of this blog, readers. I've got a basketball game to play early this afternoon, and a couple of friends to visit afterward.

UPDATE: Aid helicopter crashes in Nepal, killing 4

"Nepal says civilians were on crashed US copter, toll now 13"  Associated Press  June 06, 2015

KATHMANDU, Nepal — A US military helicopter that crashed last month on an earthquake relief mission was carrying five more passengers than first thought, raising the death toll to 13, Nepal’s army said Friday.

Authorities initially said six US Marines and two Nepalese soldiers were killed.

DNA tests and investigations by experts from both countries confirmed that five other people on the chopper were local villagers, the army announced. They reportedly were patients being transported to a medical facility.

The UH-1 ‘‘Huey’’ helicopter crashed May 12 in mountains in the country’s northeast, and the wreckage was found after days of intense searching. The first three bodies were retrieved by Nepalese and US military teams, and the rest were found a day later.

The US relief mission was deployed after a magnitude- 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal on April 25. A magnitude-7.3 aftershock struck on May 12, and hours later the helicopter crashed.

Four of the Marines were part of a helicopter squadron in the Third Marine Aircraft Wing, based at Camp Pendleton near San Diego. Two other Marines were combat cameramen based in Japan.

The cause of the crash has not been determined. US military officials have said that an Indian helicopter in the air nearby heard radio chatter from the Huey about a possible fuel problem.

On Tuesday, a private helicopter chartered by Doctors Without Borders crashed in northeast Nepal, killing all four people on board.

The quakes killed more than 8,700 people and caused widespread destruction.


Also seeA benevolent spirit found, then lost in ruins of Nepal