Tag Archives: Earthquake

More than 2,200 confirmed dead in Nepal earthquake

More than 2,200 confirmed dead in Nepal earthquake

By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA and KATY DAIGLE

Sunday, making buildings sway and sending panicked Kathmandu residents running into the streets a day after a massive earthquake left more than 2,200 people dead.

The cawing of crows mixed with terrified screams as the magnitude 6.7 aftershock pummeled the capital city early Sunday afternoon. It came as planeloads of supplies, doctors and relief workers from neighboring countries began arriving in this poor Himalayan nation.

“The aftershocks keep coming … so people don’t know what to expect,” said Sanjay Karki, Nepal country head for global aid agency Mercy Corps. “All the open spaces in Kathmandu are packed with people who are camping outdoors. When the aftershocks come you cannot imagine the fear. You can hear women and children crying.”

Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake spread horror from Kathmandu to small villages and to the slopes of Mount Everest, triggering an avalanche that buried part of the base camp packed with foreign climbers preparing to make their summit attempts. At least 17 people died there and 61 were injured.

The earthquake centered outside Kathmandu, the capital, was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in over 80 years. It destroyed swaths of the oldest neighborhoods of Kathmandu, and was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China’s region of Tibet and Pakistan. By Sunday afternoon, authorities said at least 2,169 people had died in Nepal alone, with 61 more deaths in India and a few in other neighboring countries.

At least 721 of them died in Kathmandu alone, and the number of injured nationwide was upward of 5,000. With search and rescue efforts far from over, it was unclear how much the death toll would rise.But outside of the oldest neighborhoods, many in Kathmandu were surprised by how few modern structures — the city is largely a collection of small, poorly constructed brick apartment buildings — collapsed in the quake. While aid workers cautioned that many buildings could have sustained serious structural damage, it was also clear that the death toll would have been far higher had more buildings caved in.

On a flight into Kathmandu on Sunday morning, an AP correspondent was unable to spot any collapsed buildings.

Aid workers also warned that the situation could be far worse near the epicenter. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near Lamjung, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Kathmandu, in the Gorkha district.

Roads to that area were blocked by landslides, hindering rescue teams, said chief district official Prakash Subedi. Teams were trekking through mountain trails to reach remote villages, and helicopters would also be deployed, he said by telephone.

The aid group World Vision said in a statement that remote mountain communities, including in Gorkha, were totally unprepared for the level of destruction caused by the earthquake.

Villages near the epicenter “are literally perched on the sides of large mountain faces and are made from simple stone and rock construction. Many of these villages are only accessible by 4WD and then foot, with some villages hours and even entire days’ walks away from main roads at the best of times,” the group’s local staff member, Matt Darvas, said in the statement.

He said he was hearing that many of the villages may have been completely buried by rock falls.

“It will likely be helicopter access only for these remote villages,” he said.

Nepal’s worst recorded earthquake in 1934 measured 8.0 and all but destroyed the cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan.

With people fearing more quakes, tens of thousands of Nepalese spent Saturday night outside under chilly skies, or in cars and public buses. They were jolted awake by strong aftershocks early Sunday.”There were at least three big quakes at night and early morning. How can we feel safe? This is never-ending and everyone is scared and worried,” said Kathmandu resident Sundar Sah. “I hardly got much sleep. I was waking up every few hours and glad that I was alive.”

As day broke, rescuers aided by international teams set out to dig through rubble of buildings — concrete slabs, bricks, iron beams, wood — to look for survivors.

In the Kalanki neighborhood of Kathmandu, police rescuers finally extricated a man lying under a dead person, both of them buried beneath a pile of concrete slabs and iron beams. Before his rescue, his family members stood nearby, crying and praying. Police said the man’s legs and hips were totally crushed.

Hundreds of people in Kalanki gathered around the collapsed Lumbini Guest House, once a three-story budget hotel and restaurant frequented by Nepalese. They watched with fear and anticipation as a single backhoe dug into the rubble.

Police officer RP Dhamala, who was coordinating the rescue efforts, said they had already pulled out 12 people alive and six dead. He said rescuers were still searching for about 20 people believed to be trapped, but had heard no cries, taps or noises for a while.Most areas were without power and water.

The United Nations said hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley were overcrowded, and running out of emergency supplies and space to store corpses. Plumes of smoke, meanwhile, rose above the capital as friends, relatives and others gathered by the river to quickly cremate loved ones’ remains.

Most shops in Kathmandu were shut; only fruit vendors and pharmacies seemed to be doing business. Karki, of Mercy Corps, said there were long lines outside pharmacies because people fear they will run out of medicine.

Fruit seller Shyam Jaiswal vowed not to raise prices, though stocks were fast running out.

“This is all we will have for awhile. We don’t expect any more shipments for at least a week. More people are coming now. They cannot cook so they need to buy something they can eat raw. We try to help everyone. But we are not raising prices. That would be illegal, immoral profit. That would be wrong,” Jaiswal said.

The quake will likely put a huge strain on the resources of this impoverished country best known for Everest, the highest mountain in the world. The economy of Nepal, a nation of 27.8 million people, relies heavily on tourism, principally trekking and Himalayan mountain climbing.

With Kathmandu airport reopened, the first aid flights began delivering aid supplies. The first to respond were Nepal’s neighbors — India, China and Pakistan, all of which have been jockeying for influence over the landlocked nation. Still, Nepal remains closest to India with which it shares deep political, cultural and religious ties.

Indian air force planes landed Sunday with 43 tons of relief material, including tents and food, and nearly 200 rescuers, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said. The planes were returning to New Delhi with Indian nationals stranded in Kathmandu. More aid flights were planned for Sunday.

India suffered its own losses from the quake, with at least 61 people killed there and dozens injured. Sunday’s aftershock was also widely felt in the country, and local news reports said metro trains in New Delhi and Kolkata were briefly shut down when the shaking started.

A 62-member Chinese search and rescue team also arrived Sunday. Other countries sending support Sunday included the United Arab Emirates, Germany and France.

An elderly injured woman is taken home through earthquake debris after treatment.

Pakistan prepared to send four C-130 aircraft, carrying a 30-bed temporary hospital comprising army doctors, surgeons and specialists. An urban search and rescue team was also sent with ground-penetrating radars, concrete cutters and sniffing dogs. Pakistan was also sending 2,000 ready-to-eat meal packs, water bottles, medicines, 200 tents, 600 blankets and other necessary items.

When the earth first shook, residents fled homes and buildings in panic as walls tumbled, trees swayed, power lines came crashing down and large cracks opened up on streets. After the chaos of Saturday — when little organized rescue and relief was seen — there was more order on Sunday as rescue teams fanned out across the city.

Workers were sending out tents and relief goods in trucks and helicopters, said disaster management official Rameshwar Dangal. He said government and private schools have been turned into shelters.

Mukesh Kafle, the head of the Nepal Electricity Authority, said power has been restored fully to main government offices, the airport and hospitals.

Among the destroyed buildings in Kathmandu was the nine-story Dharahara Tower, a Kathmandu landmark built by Nepal’s royal rulers as a watchtower in the 1800s and a UNESCO-recognized historical monument. It was reduced to rubble and there were reports of people trapped underneath.

The Kathmandu Valley is listed as a World Heritage site. The Buddhist stupas, public squares and Hindu temples are some of the most well-known sites in Kathmandu, and now some of the most deeply mourned.

The head of the U.N. cultural agency, Irina Bokova, said in a statement that UNESCO was ready to help Nepal rebuild from “extensive damage, including to historic monuments and buildings of the Kathmandu Valley.”

Nepali journalist and author Shiwani Neupane tweeted: “The sadness is sinking in. We have lost our temples, our history, the places we grew up.”

Large earthquake rattles San Francisco Bay Area

Large earthquake rattles San Francisco Bay Area

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A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area early Sunday morning, centered in the Napa County town of American Canyon, but felt across Northern California. The quake, the strongest in the region since 1989, prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency Sunday.

Napa Valley towns and communities have reported the worst damage, reports CBS San Francisco. Dozens of aftershocks in the area have been reported since the large tremor struck overnight.

There have been dozens of reported injuries, at least six of them serious, including one child who was left in critical condition by falling debris.

One hospital in the Bay Area reports it has treated at least 120 patients so far injured by the quake.

Walter Mickens, CEO for Queen of the Valley hospital in Napa, said most of those were treated for cuts, bumps and bruises. A spokesperson said earlier the facility treated a hip fracture and heart attack, but it’s unclear if it was related to the tremor. The hospital has set up a triage tent as injured locals continue to come in.

The quake caused six significant fires, Napa Division Fire Chief Darren Drake said. Several other smaller fires have been reported and firefighting efforts have been complicated by broken water mains.

The Napa city government told Reuters there were at least 50 gas main breaks and 30 water main leaks. Officials said later there have been over 100 reports of gas leaks, although not all have been verified. Locals have told CBS San Francisco in some neighborhoods the smell of gas persists. It is also not clear yet how bad the damage from the water main breaks has been.

Power was knocked out to tens of thousands of customers in the region. Pacific Gas and Electric spokesman J.D. Guidi said close to 30,000 lost power right after the quake hit, but the number was down just under 19,000, most of them in Napa.

Napa City Councilmember Peter Mott reports the library and the historic Chinese laundry building suffered significant damage, and bricks and glass are scattered across downtown sidewalks on Second and Third Streets.

There are also reports of damage to numerous other buildings in the area. Local officials said there will be a larger police presence the next few days mostly to keep residents away from dangerous debris that has littered streets all over the area.

San Francisco earthquake Napa California
A building is partially collapsed due to a 6.0-magnitude earthquake, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. AP PHOTO/BEN MARGOT

Napa County officials said there have so far been no reports of major infrastructure damage beyond a few roads that buckled. Some even encouraged vacationers to the popular tourist spot to not cancel their trips. Officials warned, however, that damage assessment crews were still struggling to reach and report back from many areas affected by the quake.

After the earthquake, several homes were set on fire in a mobile home park in Napa.

Resident Annalicia Salvatore told CBS News correspondent John Blackstone she felt the jolt and smelled the fumes.

“Within like 5 to10 minutes after the earthquake started, we started seeing flames come up,” Salvatore said. “We looked outside and there was a bunch of flame.

Gas lines nearby had ruptured, and as homes burned firefighters found the water lines had ruptured as well.

It took twenty minutes for water pressure to be restored. By then, six homes were destroyed while nearby streets flooded.

San Fransico California earthquake
A mobile home park burns after a fire erupted following a large earthquake centered nearby in Napa, California, on August 24, 2014.  CBS 13/PETER RONEY

This was the largest quake to hit the Bay Area since the 6.9 magnitude quake hit Loma Prieta in 1989. That quake occurred in the middle of a World Series game between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics, and killed more than 60 people.

Leslie Gordon of the U.S. Geological Survey told the Associated Press the tremor struck at just before 3:30 a.m. Sunday. The epicenter was about six miles southwest of Napa, California, and about 50 miles west-southwest of Sacramento.

Jessica Turner of the U.S. Geological Survey told CBS San Francisco aftershocks of up to 5.0 are likely in the next week. There is only a 5 percent chance of a stronger quake during the next week. Already at least 25 aftershocks have rocked the region.

The USGS said the depth of the earthquake was just less than seven miles.

“A quake of that size in a populated area is of course widely felt throughout that region,” Randy Baldwin, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado, told the Associated Press. “The 6.0 is a sizeable quake for this area. It’s a shallow quake.”

Throughout the region, locals have reported the quake was felt as a long, rolling, shaking motion with several peaks of movement lasting for an extended time.

The California Highway Patrol reports some power outages.  The CHP is closing a bridge on Highway 37 in Vallejo while they inspect it for possible damage.

California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Bartlett told the Associated Press there haven’t been reports of injuries or people stranded in their cars, but there are numerous flat tires from motorists driving over damaged roads. Highway Patrol and the California Department of Transportation was checking roadways for damage, Bartlett said.

Widespread power outages are impacting Napa, and there are reports of minor damage across the region, mainly items falling off kitchen shelves and stores with broken bottles.

Callers to local radio stations and locals checking in on social media reported a significant shaking motion in the city of Napa, lasting for an extended time.