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Nepal earthquake disaster recovery continues

Date : 14 / 05 / 2015
Author : Jim Linton - VK3PC

Thousands of people spent many hours in temporary shelters or outdoors when a 7.4 earthquake struck Nepal on Tuesday May 12, less than three weeks after the 7.8 quake - the worst there in more than 80 years. Among the destruction of the initial earthquake were many historical landmarks in Kathmandu, and dozens died in the Mount Everest area due mainly to avalanches. A second tremor of 6.3-magnitude hit 30 minutes later. The main quake was felt in northern India, Tibet and Bangladesh where deaths were recorded. More than 8,000 were killed in Nepal on April 25, and the latest earthquake saw further destruction and killed dozens of its people.

Satish 9N1AA in Kathmandu was again on the emergency net after the latest earthquake, reporting on the loss of power, normal communications, and the aftermath damage. Almost immediately the fresh earthquake was felt, the 20m emergency frequency was activated as people ran outdoors, already traumatised by the earlier event and fearing the worst. Satish 9N1AA told the net of the situation, how six houses had collapsed in Kathmandu, 30 deaths and 60 people injured. He reported later (Thursday May 14) that there has not been any tremor above 5 on the Richter scale for 12 hours, and people returning to their houses. Most in the Kathmandu Valley had been in temporary shelters.

What surprised many was the length of time the latest earthquake was felt. Sanjeeb 9N1SP emailed that there were "aftershocks after aftershocks" and he had to remain outdoors until it was safe. No apparent need existed for radio amateurs this time to provide additional emergency communications, although the IARU Centre of Activity (CoA) frequencies were kept clear. While the Nepalese were still on edge, the search for missing people is continuing. Rescue groups, non-government organisations giving humanitarian and first aid, the military, the International Telecommunications Union and the Nepalese government, are still doing their work.

Satish 9N1AA said queries about missing persons are still being received from overseas. The best way to handle them is suggested via the central registry of the Red Cross. Avalanches caused by the numerous tremors have made some areas very unsafe. The retrieval of bodies has been postponed. A few areas very inaccessible leading to difficulty in reaching all people. All involved in the disaster were doing their best with the recovery and aid distribution, before the arrival of monsoon rains.

-Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.



 

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