Battered Nepal Will See Months of Aftershocks

As PM warns that death toll could reach 10K
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2015 6:44 AM CDT
Battered Nepal Faces Weeks, Even Years of Aftershocks
Nepalese rest outdoors, a day after a massive earthquake devastated the region and destroyed homes and infrastructure, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015.   (AP Photo/Bikram Rai)

A couple and their four daughters are among thousands in camps in Nepal, surviving on instant noodles, after Saturday's magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Though their home wasn't badly damaged, the man tells the BBC they won't soon return to it. "We've heard all these rumors about more earthquakes and aftershocks." Indeed, at least 42 aftershocks have hit since the disaster, including a magnitude 6.7 temblor, Mashable reports. Roughly three dozen were above magnitude 4.5, NPR reports. And larger ones could be on the way: There's a 7% chance one of at least 7.0 magnitude will hit in May, per the USGS; in the subsequent year, there's a 99% chance of at least a 5.0-magnitude aftershock and a 77% chance of one magnitude 6 or larger. Further, "felt earthquakes (ie, those with M ≥3 or 4) will be common over the next weeks to months."

The death toll has climbed to 4,356—including 18 killed on Mount Everest—but it could "go up to 10,000 because information from remote villages hit by the earthquake is yet to come in," Nepal PM Sushil Koirala says, per the Guardian. That would make the quake Nepal's deadliest disaster in history. Some 8 million people were affected and about 8,000 were injured. Koirala says Nepal is now "on a war footing" and completely overwhelmed with "appeals for rescues coming in from everywhere." A government official tells the BBC the country is "desperate for more foreign expertise to pull through this crisis" and specifically requests "special relief materials and medical teams." Aid is pouring but deliveries have been slowed by congestion at Kathmandu's sole airport. (Read more Nepal stories.)

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