On 25th April 2015, a 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal roughly 50 miles from the capital of Kathmandu. As it stands, up to 5,000 have been confirmed killed and thousands remain missing. There is thought to be extensive damage of infrastructure across the country, and aid agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to access those affected. The UN estimates that up to 8 million people have been affected by the quake. After shocks have been on-going since the original quake, causing further damage to buildings. Thousands of people have been made homeless, and the provision of essential medicine, food, water and sanitation is becoming an increasing problem.
Areas affected by the largest quake were located in the Kathmandu Valley, yet a state of emergency has been implemented in the following states: Gorkha, Dhading, Rasuwa, Nuwakot, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Sindhupalchok, Kavrepalanchok, Ramechhap and Dolakha. It is thought that aid has been able to reach areas close to Kathmandu, as aid is delivered to the only airport with a single runway. However, information published on OpenMap suggest vast areas have yet to be reached, due to complex terrain. The situation is becoming increasingly desperate for those in mountainous regions in particular. Concern over those located in the Himalayas continues to increase, as communication lines can not be established. It is believed
Protests have taken place in Nepal, as people are extremely angry over the apparent lack of response from the Nepalese government. This atmosphere on unrest is likely to increase until a sufficient response is felt within the people. There is a potential for violence within this tense environment. In Kathmandu City itself, it is estimated that that up to 1.6 million people have been displaced. Those displaced are living in make shift camps. The potential for disease to spread rapidly in this environment is high, particularly disease coming from water-borne sources such as cholera.
Connections to Nepal are sparse, as commercial airlines are forced to make way for military and aid cargo. Many flights are redirected at the last minute, and the accessibility for commercial options is sparse. Obviously, the humanitarian issues takes prominence for the deliverance of aid rather than chartered or commercial air activity.
The British Embassy is leading an evacuation cohort of up to 200 people due to take place on the 29th April. The FCO are urging all foreign nationals who have not yet made contact with the embassy to do so, on the following phone number: +44 207 008 0000. In addition, the embassy teams have been searching hospitals and camps attempting to locate those nationals who have been injured or misplaced.
All travel to Nepal should be deterred. The rebuilding of the country will take months, if not years and the instability linked to the earthquake is set to continue. We will continue to monitor developments in country.