International aid groups rushed to respond Saturday to a deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal that claimed more than 1,000 lives, destroyed modern houses and ancient temples and triggered a landslide on Mount Everest. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it was extremely concerned about the fate of rural villages close to the epicenter of the quake, 50 miles from the capital Kathmandu. Other aid organizations responding to the emergency also struggled to assess the needs with communications cut off around the Himalayan nation. Nations around world have also reacted to the quake by offering condolences and pledging support.
We do not yet know the scope of the damage, but this could be one of the deadliest and most devastating earthquakes since the 1934 tremor which devastated Nepal and Bihar.
Jagan Chapagain, Asia/Pacific director of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
Nepal’s long history of seismic events is related to the movement of tectonic plates beneath the Himalayan mountain range – “one of the world’s most worrisome hot zones for earthquake risk,” The New York Times reported. In 2011, as global concern for disaster risk reduction grew, the Nepali government partnered with a group of international organizations to create the Nepal Risk Reduction Consortium (NRCC). In 2013, the UN conducted a review of the NRRC that found that, although “much more work needs to be done” to close structure and capacity gaps within the program, the model was effective, overall. Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal is putting the government’s preparedness efforts to the test.