A strong 6.9-magnatude earthquake hit the Himalaya last night, causing damage, injuries, and even deaths across India, Nepal, and Tibet. News reports indicate that 50 fatalities have already been counted, although that number is expected to rise as more information is collected.
The earthquake’s epicenter was located in India’s Sikkim state, which falls along the border of Nepal and Tibet. The rumblings were felt as far away as Bangladesh and Kathmandu, where residents scrambled to exit homes and other buildings.
Due to the remote nature of this part of the world, it could take some time before an accurate estimate of the true damage is known. Landslides are also reported across the region, which is making it difficult to get supplies and aid into the mountainous areas, where authorities expect the death toll and damage to buildings and infrastructure to only climb. Cell service is reportedly down in parts of Tibet where the quake as taken out fragile radio towers.
To make matters worse, after two after shocks have followed in the wake of the original quake. They measured 6.1 and 5.3 on the Richter scale and there are fears that another major quake could strike before the rubble from the initial disaster can be cleared.
Hopefully the climbers who are currently in the Himalaya are all safe and haven’t been caught up in any of the rock slides. I’m sure we’ll be hearing some harrowing tales from those teams shortly, but lets keep our fingers crossed that they are all okay.
Having visited the region, I know how fragile the infrastructure can be there. The homes that the people of the Himalaya live in are not designed to withstand a natural disaster such as this one. Hopefully the death toll doesn’t continue to rise and the people in the region will remain safe in the days ahead.
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