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2 May 2015 | News

Earthquake brief (2 May)

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In the aftermath of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit Nepal on 25 April 2015, ICIMOD has been using its resources and expertise to support relief efforts.
Immediately after the disaster, ICIMOD formed a team of GIS and remote sensing experts that is coordinating directly with the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of Nepal. They have been working around the clock to process and analyse the latest satellite imagery being provided to ICIMOD from space agencies around the globe. The team is mapping pockets of settlements in affected districts and creating profiles of affected VDCs to inform relief and recovery operations.
ICIMOD has set up a dedicated webpage to provide the latest maps, data, and information about the situation in Nepal (www.icimod.org/nepalearthquake2015), including links to other relevant sites. The website will be regularly updated.
Unseasonable rain and weather patterns have proven to be one of the greatest challenges to helicopter rescue teams providing aid relief and evacuation assistance in remote areas hit by the earthquake.
At the verbal request of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) and Nepal Army ICIMOD has provided information products using remote sensing and GIS tools for rescue and relief activities. These products include maps of settlements, terrain, safe landing spots, as well as potential hazard areas. Along with those we also provided and some interpretation of weather conditions in the flight paths based on globally and regionally available forecasts.
Landslides have been another major obstacle to rescue and relief operations. Many roads are damaged or blocked, cutting off quake-hit villages from aid and rescue workers. Some slopes may have been destabilized by the earthquake, which could lead to other landslides. There is an urgent need to assess the impact of landslides for immediate rescue efforts and monitor potential hazards in the future. Moraine dams of glacier lakes may also have weakened during the earthquake, which could result in floods that would affect communities downstream. Together with colleagues around the world – in countries like China, Japan, The Netherlands, and the United States – ICIMOD is closely monitoring landslides, glacier lakes, and river courses by analysing the latest satellite images and communicating the latest findings to the Government of Nepal and relief agencies. The threat of further landslides and glacier lake outbursts may increase as snow begins to melt and the monsoon kicks in.
ICIMOD staff have collected supplies and dispatched teams of volunteers to provide immediate relief to nearby villages, including Harisiddhi, Godavari, and Sankhu, and the Centre is exploring ways to support long-term reconstruction in some of the mountain villages where ICIMOD works.
For more information, please contact:
Ms Nira Gurung, Senior Communications Officer, ICIMOD
email: 
Tel. +977 1 5003222

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