RMS and AIR Worldwide have issued early damage assessments from the catastrophic Nepal earthquake on April 25, pointing to huge fatalities and historic levels of damage to property and the economy.
As of April 27, the quake killed in excess of 4,000 people and injured more than 7,000, according to estimates that continued to trend higher during the day.
RMS said the magnitude Mw 7.8 earthquake, which hit the Gorkha district between the capital city of Kathmandu and Pokhara, destroyed more than 6,000 homes. Overall, as much as 70 percent of homes in Gorkha have been destroyed. A number of major aftershocks followed, AIR Worldwide said.
Additionally, resulting avalanches in the Mt. Everest region killed 18 people and injured 60, based on early estimates. What’s more, the earthquake toppled thousands of electricity pylons, leaving much of Nepal without power.
Longer term, Nepal is also facing major economic troubles, considering the amount of earthquake damage to the ancient city center of Kathmandu. RMS noted that the district, in which many buildings “have been reduced to rubble,” attracts millions of tourists annually.
AIR Worldwide, in its own assessment, noted that many of Kathmandu’s buildings – including centuries-old temples and towers – were constructed with unreinforced masonry. Making matters worse, the city is dealing with reports of countless collapsed or cracked walls, broken windows and roads made impassible due to fallen telephone pools and large cracks, it said.
Deaths and building damage have also been reported in nearby Tibet, Bangladesh and India, RMS and AIR Worldwide said.
Sources: RMS, AIR Worldwide