. Earth Science News .

Nepal capital tops quake risk list: experts
by Staff Writers
Kathmandu (AFP) Sept 21, 2011

18 hydro workers killed in Himalaya quake: company
Mangan, India (AFP) Sept 21, 2011 - A company building a hydroelectric plant in north-east India said Wednesday that 18 of its employees were killed in separate incidents in the weekend's deadly Himalayan earthquake.

S. Krishnamurthy, the boss of the Teesta III power project in the state of Sikkim, said most of its 4,000 workers were on holiday when the 6.9-magnitude quake struck on Sunday, with only one -- an engineer -- killed on site.

But another four employees were killed at home when their homes collapsed, and 13 people perished in landslides on the surrounding mountain roads, many of which have collapsed or are blocked by debris.

"We have carried out a thorough inspection of the area where the project is based. We have a responsibility to our workers," he told AFP.

A total of seventeen were injured, some of them critically, and they have been taken to hospital, he added.

The death toll from the weekend earthquake neared 100 on Wednesday as officials warned it could rise significantly and helicopters airlifted the injured and stranded.

The Teesta III project in north Sikkim is India's largest hydroelectric project to date and is being jointly built by the private Indian group Athena Energy Ventures and the Indian state.

The 1200-megawatt project had been scheduled to be completed in January 2012.

With rescue work still under way in Nepal after Sunday's deadly earthquake in the Himalayas, scientists have warned that the capital Kathmandu is a high-risk city unprepared for the next "Big One".

Experts say Kathmandu is one of the most vulnerable cities in the world with an overdue earthquake predicted to kill tens of thousands of people and leave survivors cut off from international aid.

British geologist Dave Petley described the latest tremor, which killed eight people in Nepal, as a "wake-up call" for the overcrowded capital, home to two million people and connected to the outside world by just three roads and one airport runway.

"The main area of concern is in central and west Nepal, where there has not been a large earthquake for a long period," Petley told AFP after Sunday's 6.9-magnitude quake damaged hundreds of homes in the east of the country.

"This is an earthquake-prone area, so this suggests that there is a large amount of energy stored," he said.

Nepal is a highly seismic region, lying above the collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates that created the Himalayas, and major earthquakes have hit the Kathmandu Valley every 75 years on average over recent centuries.

One quake destroyed a quarter of homes in Kathmandu 77 years ago, and geologists believe the area is at immediate risk of an 8.0-magnitude tremor -- ten times the size of last year's Haiti quake which killed more than 225,000 people.

Downtown Kathmandu is a maze of narrow, winding roads where rickshaws and cars jostle with cows to squeeze past dilapidated clay, brick and timber houses.

"The building stock is not seismically strengthened, suggesting that in a big earthquake there will be large numbers of building collapses," said Petley, of the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience at Britain's Durham University.

GeoHazards International, a US-based research group, has measured the likely death toll from a quake of 6.0 magnitude or higher hitting cities in Asia and the Americas.

Kathmandu topped the list of 21 cities with 69,000 potential deaths, ahead of Istanbul and New Delhi.

The Kathmandu Valley has experienced rapid, uncontrolled urbanisation in the past few years and the lack of infrastructure and deep-rooted poverty leave it desperately underprepared for an earthquake, experts say.

Building codes are rarely enforced, few emergency drills are carried out, and the fact that Kathmandu lies on the site of a prehistoric lake filled with soft sediment also exacerbates the risk.

The one single-runway airport and all three access roads would likely be destroyed in a major quake, meaning the city could be stranded.

GeoHazards president Brian Tucker told AFP that researchers had compared the probability of a child in Kathmandu dying because an earthquake destroyed a school with the probability of the same situation in Tokyo.

"The child in Kathmandu was 400 times more likely to die. This inequity is intolerable," he said.

The National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET), established after a 6.5-magnitude tremor killed more than 700 people in eastern Nepal in 1988, has launched a programme to make school buildings more quake-resistant.

According to NSET, if a 7.0 magnitude quake hit Kathmandu, 200,000 people would die, another 200,000 would be severely injured, 1.5 million would be made homeless and 60 percent of homes would be destroyed.

Underlining the dangers, three of the eight deaths in Nepal from Sunday's quake happened when a wall of the British Embassy compound in Kathmandu collapsed, killing a father, his eight-year-old daughter and another man.

The quake, on the border between India's Sikkim state and Nepal, killed at least 83 people across the region with emergency teams battling to get to remote communities near the epicentre.

"We have to take this risk very seriously and we have to assume the worst," UN humanitarian coordinator in Nepal Robert Piper told Tuesday's Kathmandu Post.

"It's the right thing to do, which is to assume this could happen again tomorrow or in 10 years -- we really don't know."

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest


Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

Himalayan quake toll nears 100
Mangan, India (AFP) Sept 21, 2011 - The death toll from the weekend earthquake in the Himalayas neared 100 on Wednesday as rescue workers struggled to reach remote villages and helicopters airlifted the injured and stranded.

Sunday's 6.9-magnitude quake struck the border of India's northeastern state of Sikkim and Nepal, bringing destruction to towns and villages on both sides as well as in southern Tibet.

From a helipad in Mangan in northern Sikkim, military and private helicopters flew regular sorties, taking food and medical supplies to outlying villages and bringing back injured survivors and a number of foreign tourists.

In the state capital Gangtok, around 70 kilometres (40 miles) southeast of the epicentre, government official Sonam Lepcha said provisional figures put the number of dead in Sikkim at 65, but that is likely to rise.

"We fear that more lives have been lost, but it's very difficult to give an exact count because bodies are still being pulled from the debris," Lepcha said.

Rescue efforts began in earnest Wednesday after emergency teams and relief workers spent two days battling heavy rains, damaged roads and landslides to reach the quake's main impact zone.

S.K. Pradhan, the district magistrate of Chungtang, one of the worst-hit areas, said he saw signs of badly damaged villages as he flew over the sparsely populated area.

"We could see bodies lying in the debris, but for now our priority is to evacuate the injured and then we will take stock of the dead," he said.

"We are still not able to contact many remote villages."

Doctors at Mangan district hospital said most of the seriously injured had badly crushed limbs and bodies after being caught in rockfalls or building collapses.

A company building a huge hydroelectric plant in Chungtang said 18 of its employees had been killed.

S. Krishnamurthy, the boss of the Teesta III power project, said most of its 4,000 workers were on holiday when the quake struck, with only one -- an engineer -- killed on site.

Another four employees were killed when their homes collapsed, while 13 perished in landslides on the surrounding mountain roads, he said.

In Mangan, relatives of people living in and around the epicentre gathered in groups, sharing what little information they could glean about the fate of their family members.

Most had heard nothing from their families since the quake hit on Sunday evening.

More than 40 stranded tourists, including a number of foreigners, had been airlifted to safety, army officials said. Sikkim's Himalayan trekking trails are a popular adventure tourism destination.

Around a million people visit Sikkim every year and an estimated 60 percent of the state's population of 500,000 rely on tourism for their livelihood.

In Nepal, eight people were killed and hundreds of homes were destroyed or damaged in the east of the country, where rescuers faced the same problems as their Indian counterparts with rains and mudslides blocking routes to the affected areas.

Eighteen other people died in the Indian states of Bihar and West Bengal, while China's official Xinhua news agency said seven people had been killed in southern Tibet, near the border with Sikkim.

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Himalayan quake rescuers blast route to epicentre
Gangtok, India (AFP) Sept 20, 2011
Rescue teams blasted their way through rockfalls Tuesday as they closed in on the remote epicentre of a Himalayan earthquake that killed 83 people in India, Nepal and Tibet. More than 5,000 troops, including army engineers using explosives, cleared a route to Mangan, a town near the main impact zone of Sunday's 6.9-magnitude quake on the border between India's northeastern Sikkim state and N ... read more

Insurance market Lloyd's dives into red on catastrophes

Traces of Japan nuclear fallout in California rainwater

S. Korea court rejects bid to shut nuclear reactor

Goalposts and blankets comfort quake survivors

Nobel Laureate may have suppressed evidence on radiation effects in 1946

Did chemical reactions cause Twin Towers collapse?

Apple to unveil iPhone 5 on October 4: report

Researchers make visible the structure of the smallest crystals

Plants create a water reserve in the soil

50-million-year-old clam shells provide indications of future of El Nino phenomenon

Captive breeding could transform saltwater aquarium trade and save coral reefs

Some squids do it in the dark

Arctic sea ice reaches minimum 2011 extent

Row over British atlas showing greener Greenland

A Coral Reef in the Arctic

Arctic ice at 2nd lowest level since 1979: US report

Scientists Develop New Potato Lines to Wage War on Wireworms

China's farm subsidies soar but OECD states' at record low

Two arrested over China 'gutter' oil murder

China says duties on US chicken products lawful

Nepal capital tops quake risk list: experts

Tropical Storm Ophelia forms, heads toward Caribbean

Typhoon smashes into Japan, four already dead

Typhoon batters Japan but nuclear plant safe

Sierra Leone army chief urges political impartiality

China to build $439-million housing complex in Mozambique

Niger seeks help over Libya arms fallout

No US-China arms sales race in Africa: US general

Serotonin levels affect the brain's response to anger

CT study of early humans reveals evolutionary relationships

Self-delusion is a winning survival strategy

Study suggests methylation and gene sequence co-evolve in human-chimp evolutionary divergence

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement