The 2015 Nepal earthquake that occurred on April 25 absolutely devastated Kathmandu, created avalanches on Mount Everest, and left hundreds of thousands of impoverished Nepalese people homeless. With a magnitude of 7.8, the earthquake was the strongest experienced in Nepal since 1934. A second earthquake on May 12 and scores of aftershocks toppled damaged buildings and created even more casualties.
Nepal is considered one of the poorest countries in Asia and depends heavily on tourism which has been stifled at the moment. They have appealed to the international community -- with limited success -- for assistance. And while officials are discouraging tourists from visiting the capital for now, they could really use donations to aid in recovery.
How Strong Was the 2015 Nepal Earthquake?
Nepal was actually hit by two powerful earthquakes less than a month apart. The earthquake that hit Kathmandu on April 25 was given a magnitude of 7.8 by the U.S. Geological Survey. The China Earthquake Networks Center rated the same earthquake at a magnitude of 8.1. The last earthquake of that strength to hit Nepal was an 8.0-magnitude quake in 1934.
The 7.3-magnitude earthquake that struck on May 12 was followed just minutes later by another 6.3-magnitude quake in the same area. Many powerful aftershocks rated from “moderate” to “severe” followed.
The earthquakes in Nepal were so powerful that tremors were felt over 600 miles away in New Delhi. The earthquake actually caused damage and casualties in several Indian states, and it was felt in Tibet, Pakistan, and Bhutan.
Casualties and Death Toll
As of May 21, 2015, the death toll from the earthquake and aftershocks was over 8,600 people; that number is still expected to climb as the hundreds of missing are eventually added to the casualty list. Over 19,000 people were injured during the earthquakes. Hundreds of thousands of people are currently homeless; the lucky survivors are living in tents throughout Kathmandu.
The 2015 Nepal earthquakes hit in the spring during peak season for tourism. Among the casualties were at least 88 foreign nationals including six Americans, 10 French, seven Spaniards, five Germans, four Italians, and two Canadians.
The earthquake triggered a series of avalanches on Mount Everest that hit Everest Base Camp, killing at least 19; an additional 120 people were listed as injured or still missing. April 25, 2015, became the deadliest day in history on Mount Everest. Among the climbers was Dan Fredinburg, a 33-year-old Google executive from California. Fredinburg had already climbed four of the Seven Summits -- the highest peaks on each continent -- and narrowly escaped becoming a casualty the year before during the 2014 Mount Everest avalanche that closed the climbing season.
The 2015 Nepal earthquake was so powerful that it even caused casualties in adjacent countries. At least 78 deaths were reported in India, 25 in Tibet, and four in Bangladesh.
A U.S. military helicopter on a relief mission after the earthquake crashed for unknown reasons killing six U.S. Marines and two Nepalese soldiers.
How to Help the Victims of the Nepal Earthquakes
Sadly, Nepal is regarded as one of the poorest countries in Asia. World Bank estimates the per-capita income in Nepal to be less than US $500 per year. Along with the loss of life, many poverty-stricken residents lost their homes and livelihoods. Many damaged buildings are still crumbing and threaten to collapse. With limited resources on hand, recovery could take more than a decade.
To ensure that the most dollars from your donation go directly to help the victims of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, consider giving to the Nepal Red Cross Society.
These other major charities have set up special funds for helping Nepal:
- UNICEF (UNICEF claims that 90.2 cents from every dollar donated will go to helping children in Nepal.)
- The Salvation Army (The Salvation Army is a good option if you wish to donate via PayPal.)
Support Offered by the International Community
Although many countries have sent volunteers and/or aid, the monetary response to the disaster is still considered inconsistent and lacking. Many impoverished countries gave larger monetary donations than ‘developed’ countries with exponentially larger GDPs.
Amounts are in U.S. dollars
The U.S. government gave only $10 million for relief, and the European Union gave only $3.3 million. The United Arab Emirates, with a GDP of over $377 billion, donated only $1.36 million. In comparison, the United Kingdom’s government contributed $36 million.
Top contributors to Nepal include Australia ($15.8 million), Germany ($68.3 million donated by the public), the UK ($36 million), and Switzerland ($21.9 million through fundraising). Norway gave $17.3 million compared to Sweden’s donation of $1.5 million.
Singapore, one of the wealthiest countries in Asia, donated only $100,000 to relief efforts. South Korea, also considered a wealthy country, gave only $1 million. Algeria, Bhutan, and Haiti each gave $1 million dollars, surpassing Italy’s donation of $326,000 and Taiwan’s donation of $300,000.