Almost a year after the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the Himalayan nation of Nepal, a new international report says a staggering 4,312 landslides were triggered by the temblor and aftershocks.
It says the major destruction by the landslides was of newly-developed settlements, and the total loss and damage was estimated at $7bn.
The report “Impact of Nepal’s 2015 Gorkha Earthquake-Induced Geohazards” says the lives of 8mn people, almost one-third of Nepal’s population, were impacted. But the damage due to landslides and glacier lake floods was less than anticipated.
Supported by Skoll Global Threats Fund, the Kathmandu-headquartered International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), along with scientists from the US, Europe and the region prepared the report by mapping the landslides using satellite images, aerial surveys and field visits.
In Nepal, home to more than one-third of the Himalayan range, the damage by the quake was devastating, compared to the Tibet Autonomous Region in China or India and Bangladesh.
Within Nepal, nearly 9,000 people died, 22,000 were injured and 100,000 displaced.
The earthquake on April 25, 2015, pushed an additional 2.5 to 3.5% of the Nepalese population into poverty in 2015-16, the researchers wrote in their 36-page report that aims to improve the management of geohazards.
Scientists have discovered that there was major destruction to the newly-developed human settlements compared to older ones.
These settlements were along the Pasang Lamu highway in the Trishuli valley and Kodari highway in the Bhotekoshi and Sunkoshi valleys. Tatopani village, bordering China, too was hit by rock falls.
According to the report, the temblor induced two disastrous avalanches - one in Langtang valley and another at the Everest base camp. The most destructive and probably the largest landslide triggered was a massive one initiated nearly 7,000m above mean sea level which completely buried Langtang village.
The Mount Everest base camp was also hit by an earthquake-induced ice avalanche, even though the shaking at this point was light.
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