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Nepal Earthquake 25 April 2015


7.9 magnitude earthquake


1.    SUMMARY


On 25 April, at about 11am (local time), a 7.9 magnitude earthquake (depth 15km) occurred in Nepal.  The epicenter was 80km from the capital, Kathmandu, causing tremors in northern India as well as in Pakistan. The earthquake is the strongest that has hit Nepal in 81 years. There are an estimated 6.5 million people living within 100km of the epicenter.  The nearest large cities to the epicenter are Kathmandu and Jiwandanda.  Th nearest maximum altitude is 7,735 meters.  Multiple aftershocks between 6 and 7 magnitude have been recorded.
 
Initial reports:

•    At least 800 people have been killed.  
•    People remain outside due to aftershocks.
•    There has been mixed reports about continuity of electricity and mobile phone comms.
•    Severe damage to buildings in Patan, Basantapur and Harsiddhi.
•    Several roads are close due to landslides.
•    Mount Everest Camp 1 & 2 have been hit by avalanche and many climbers are missing.
•    The death toll in India due to the earthquakes has risen to 23.
•    Mixed reports have been received about Kathmandus airport.  Some reports indicate that the International airport in Kathmandu is open to relief flights.
•    OCHA has established a VOSSOC for Nepal.
•    VOSSOC indicates that Nepal has signed a customs agreement for the facilitation of emergency relief supplies.
•    OCHA FCSS is coordinating with OCHA ROA regarding surge.  OCHA will dispatch an advanced party team from the OCHA ROA at 10am (local time) on 26 April at the request of the UN RC’s Office in Nepal to support and assess the situation.

2.    CRITERIA FOR EMERGENCY RESPONSE NEED

•    Minister for Information has described the emergency as “massive”.  Initial photos and video do not show conclusively the level of destruction.
•    Nepal is among the poorest nations in the world, and the poorest in South Asia. Major risks to the country's economy derive from its underdeveloped infrastructure, high dependence on agricultural sector, lack of diversification, and highly unstable political environment.
•    Detailed needs assessment not conducted yet.
•    UNDAC teams on standby – expected to be deployed within 24 hours.

SECURITY & ACCESSIBILITY

•    Nepal has experienced considerable political instability since the end of a decade-long Maoist insurgency in April 2006. Nepal's political scene has been dominated by the issue of drafting a new constitution since 2008.
•    Return to civil war is unlikely.
•    Inter-state conflict with India or China is unlikely.
•    The risk of kidnapping-for-ransom in Nepal is low. Recorded numbers of kidnaps peaked between 2007 and 2010 but decreased thereafter and have remained relatively stable. The majority of kidnaps in Nepal are perpetrated by criminals motivated by financial gain. There is also a medium kidnapping risk along the border with India, where communist insurgents carry out cross-border kidnaps from India to fund their activities.  The majority of kidnappings are targeted against wealthy Indian business men.
•    Petty crime, especially theft of personal property, is common and reports of sexual harassment are increasing.
•    The police in Nepal may not be reliable or effective.

FINANCE

•    International donors have contributed millions in recent years as part of DRR initiatives.  They are unlikely to turn away now that the predicted earthquake has occurred.  It is reasonable to expect reasonable funding from international donors.

LOGISTICS

•    Visa can be obtained on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, at border entry points in Kakadvitta, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Gaddachowki on Nepal-India border and Kodari on Nepal-China border. Visa can also be obtained at the nearest Nepal Embassy or Diplomatic Mission. Visa can also be obtained (renewal purposes) at Department of Immigration, Kalikasthan, Kathmandu.A valid passport and one passport -size photo with a light background is required. Immigration Department has not specified the size of the passport-size photo.
•    Visa can be obtained only through payment of cash in the following currency:Euro, Swiss Franc, Pound Sterling, US Dollar, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar, Singapore Dollar and Japanese Yen.Credit card, Indian currency and Nepali currency are not accepted as payment of visa fee.
•    New Delhi is about 600km away by road from epicenter.
•    2009 Logistics assessment of Nepal (by WFP) available here.

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