It is the strongest earthquake ever recorded in the last 81 years. It was 11.56 when Kathmandu Valley began to disintegrate after the first strong tremor of magnitude7.9. The death-toll is estimated to be at least 2000, but the number is expected to rise. The epicentre was 80 kilometers east of the town of Pokhara, and the mortal blow that made the earth shake and was felt in India too, where 40 have died, Bangladesh with 4 victims and Tibet 12.
Hundreds have been wounded, but even more are missing probably under the rubble. The second tremor occurred after 35 minutes with a lower strength, 6.6 magnitude but strong enough to destroy vast archaeological sites, historical monuments and to break down an avalanche on Everest which overwhelmed the base camp: 18 victims were engulfed in the disaster, almost all were Japanese and Chinese mountaineers. Many other mountain enthusiasts survived the avalanche, but are likely to remain trapped in the snow of Mount Everest owing to difficulties for relief aid operations to reach them.
April is the best month to take mountain enthusiasts to the highest peak in the world. Giampaolo Corona , Alpine guide, and Fracois Cazzanelli, guide from Army Sports Centre from Aosta Valley, were to de part yesterday from Italy for Kathmandu to endeavour the climb of Kimshung, a 6,700-metres high mountain which has never been climbed before.Corona has reassured: “we’re fine. We are waiting at Muscat airport in Oman awaiting further information “.
The Dharahara Tower, one of the most important monuments of Kathmandu and recognised by Unesco as world cultural heritage, also known as Bhimsen Tower, 62 metres tall literally crumbled on itself overwhelming over 250 people. Durbar square, in the historic centre of the capital, where tourists are attracted by the beauty of the Royal Palace and the temples, was severely damaged, a slap to the history of a people whose roots are embedded in myth. The first inhabitants of Nepal were the Licchavis in the 8th century b.c. and settled in the Valley hit by the strong earthquake. The quake had long been awaited fora long the big tectonic line called MHT (Main Himalayan Thurst) but the violence of the phenomenon has demonstrated that reality has gone far beyond the predictions of man.
Meanwhile, enquiries are being carried out by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will take long due to technical problems. According to sources from the Ministry though, there have been no reports as yet of Italians fallen victim of the quake. The Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu,which initially had been closed for several hours due to some damage, has been opened again.
According to announcements delivered by the authorities, one of the first instructions have been not to use the telephone in order not to obstruct the lines that would prove fatal for any relief efforts. “It’sa huge disaster-writes on Twitter a Roumanian mountaineer, Alex Gavan-I helped in the search and rescue of victims in a disaster area. Many have died, many are seriously injured. Others will die if a helicopter will not come as soon as possible “. Hospitals are also facing an emergency as the number of casualties is too high for them to manage.
The event has literally brought the country to its knees, forcing the government to declare a State of emergency in the struck areas and to launch an appeal to the international community to provide humanitarian aid in order to be able to cope with the tragedy. Pope Francis, informed of the devastating earthquake that has struck Nepal, claiming thousands of victims, “is following in prayer and observing with great concern on how the situation develops, participating in the pain of those who have been affected.”
In a telegram sent on behalf of the Pope by the Secretary Mons. Parolin to Mons. Simick, it reads: Francis “entrusts the souls of those deceased to the merciful love of the Almighty and a note of encouragement addressed to civil authorities and emergency operations that they continue their rescue efforts and assistance to those who have benn affected by the tragedy.” The Foreign Minister, Paolo Gentiloni has allocated relief funds for 300 thousand Euros, that will allow the Red Cross in Kathmandu to perform first aid relief activities.