Over the weekend, a devastating earthquake hit the mountainous nation of Nepal. Measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, it struck an area between the cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara. The death toll has now risen above 3600.
The disaster, which caused tremors as far afield as Pakistan and India, is the worst to hit the region in 80 years. More than six million people, living within 100 kilometres of the epicentre, have potentially been affected.
Numerous buildings, including a number of historic landings, have been levelled by the quake. In Kathmandu, the Nepalese capital, volunteers are working tirelessly as they search for survivors amongst the rubble.
The number of people injured by the disaster has risen above 6,500. Reports from inside the impoverished Himalyan nation, have suggested that medical services are being stretched to breaking point.
“What we know that at this point is there are nearly a million children who are severely affected. Our biggest concern for them right now is going to be access to clean water and sanitation, we know that water and food is running out, ” Unicef’s Christopher Tidy said.
Many adventurers, who annually flock to the region to tackle the world’s biggest mountains (including Everest), have been caught up in the disaster.
Climbers, including several Britons, have been cut off from Everest’s base camp. The base camp itself was devasted by the initial earthquake, and Sunday’s huge aftershock.
The resulting avalanche on Everest has, according to Nepal’s mountaineering department, killed at least 18 people and injured 61.
Rescue efforts, to assist those stuck on the mountain, have been severely hampered by poor weather. The survival of those stranded on the mountain now hangs in the balance.
Mountaineer James Grieve, of Kinross in Scotland, told news sources that “We are in a race against time to get off the mountain.” Grieve estimates that up to 50 people have been killed by the avalanche.
In the wake of these terrible events, the British Red Cross has launched an emergency appeal. If you’d like to make a donation, you can do so here.