Development & Education

Nearly half a million in Nepal are displaced from their homes; more than 5,000 dead

This story is a part of

Human Needs
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This story is a part of

Human Needs

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A man walks along the makeshift shelters during the rainfall after Saturday's earthquake, in Kathmandu, Nepal April 28, 2015. 

Credit:

Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

Nearly half a million Nepalese have been forced from their homes by Saturday's earthquake, left to live in tents in soccer stadiums and even on the fields they rely on for food and money.

Tents, along with food, water and medicine, are listed as among the country's most urgent needs.

According to the latest reports from the government, Saturday afternoon's earthquake killed at least 5,057 people. The country's leaders have predicted the death toll may rise to 10,000 when all of the outlying villages are accounted for. In addition, another nearly 11,000 people have been wounded. Physicians and medicial facilities are overwhelmed with the injured who need urgent and often invasive care.

The 7.8-magnitude temblor struck about 50 miles northwest of the nation's capital, Kathmandu — aftershocks, one registering a 6.7-magnitude, continue to be a probem.

Among the destruction was toppled buildings was the Dharahara tower, an historic landmark, with many feared buried in the rubble. In addition to destroying buildings, including historic temples, the earthquake also caused a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest right before the peak climbing season gets underway in May, killing 18 people. The aftershocks have caused additional avalanches. Rescue workers were able to evacuate some of the most severely injured on Sunday.

Another 85 people died in the initial earthquake, aftershocks and avalanches in India, Bangledesh and the TIbet region of China.The BBC's Divya Arya says the whole country is in a panic. "For the past two nights, [people] have setup makeshift tents made out of plastic sheets" on any available open spaces — such as the hospital grounds, golf courses and even their fields.

"[The Nepalese families] have received no help from the government in terms of any food items or water supply and they feel extremely stranded," Arya says, adding even families whose homes were not damaged have abandoned their homes for fear of aftershocks. 

She traveled to the village of Sanku, where she "found that all the houses were reduced to rubble but miraculously, all the people were safe. They were not injured because they were out in the fields when the first earthquake struck, picking out potatoes."

Nepal is situated almost directly above where two tectonic plates are coming together — the sort of place where dramatic earthquakes are possible. Mount Everest was created by these two plates converging. However, according to the US Geological Survey, the area has been relatively quiet throughout recordered history. "Just four events of M6 or larger have occurred within 250 km of the April 25, 2015 earthquake over the past century," the USGS wrote.

A magnitude 8.0 earthquake in Nepal struck in 1934, causing more than 10,000 fatalities and damaging or destroying many of Nepal's historic buildings. 

Follow the BBC for live updates on the situation. Caution: Some of the following photos may be graphic.

Rescue team members from Nepal, Turkey and China work during a rescue operation to rescue live victims trapped inside a collapsed hotel after an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal April 27, 2015. 

Credit:

Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Damaged houses are pictured as a man walks along deserted street after the earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal April 27, 2015.

Credit:

Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

A Chinese rescue team member looks on during a rescue operation to rescue live victims trapped inside a collapsed hotel after an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal April 27, 2015. Nepalese officials scrambled on Monday to get aid from the main airport to people left homeless and hungry by a devastating earthquake two days earlier, while thousands tired of waiting fled the capital Kathmandu for the surrounding plains.

Credit:

Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Victims of Saturday's earthquake are cremated along a river in Kathmandu, Nepal, April 27, 2015.

Credit:

Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Victims of Saturday's earthquake are cremated along a river in Kathmandu, Nepal, April 27, 2015.

Credit:

Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Sniffer dog handler Birgit Ostendorf of Germany's NGO organistation International Search and Rescue (ISAR- Germany) prepares her dog 'Cooper' to board their flight to Nepal from Frankfurt airport April 26, 2015. Some seven rescue dogs and 51 doctors, medics and logistical experts are flying to Nepal on Sunday.

Credit:

Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

A man cries as he walks on the street while passing through a damaged statue of Lord Buddha a day after an earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal April 26, 2015. Rescuers dug with their bare hands and bodies piled up in Nepal on Sunday after the earthquake devastated the heavily crowded Kathmandu valley, killing at least 1,900, and triggered a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest. 

Credit:

Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

A woman tries to identify a body outside a hospital after an earthquake struck, in Kathmandu, Nepal April 26, 2015.

 

Credit:

Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Students of a dance school hold candles during a prayer ceremony in Agartala, India, April 26, 2015, for victims of Saturday's earthquake in Nepal.

 

Credit:

Jayanta Dey/Reuters

Rescue workers search for bodies as a stretcher is kept ready after an earthquake hit, in Kathmandu, Nepal April 25, 2015. The powerful earthquake struck Nepal and sent tremors through northern India on Saturday, killing hundreds of people, toppling an historic 19th-century tower in the capital Kathmandu and touching off a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest.

 

Credit:

Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

People work to rescue trapped people inside a temple in Bashantapur Durbar Square after an earthquake hit, in Kathmandu, Nepal April 25, 2015. 

Credit:

Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

People wait at a school after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck, in Kathmandu, Nepal, April 25, 2015. The earthquake struck 80 km (50 miles) east of Pokhara in Nepal on Saturday, about half-way between the town and the capital Kathmandu, the US Geological Survey said.

Credit:

Navesh Chitrakar

A body of a victim lies trapped in the debris after an earthquake hit, in Kathmandu, Nepal April 25, 2015.

Credit:

Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

A boy smiles as he is rescued from a collapsed house after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit, in Kathmandu, Nepal April 25, 2015. 

Credit:

Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters