Nepal. Earthquake, 2015
Country: Nepal (and India, China, Bangladesh, Bhutan)
Period: 25 April (and 12 May)
Type of disaster: earthquake
Disaster: an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale destroys houses and lives in Nepal
Estimated number of victims: 8,617 dead, 16,808 wounded, 2.8 million people left homeless
Within the space of 30 seconds, the Indian Plate, which includes India, slides 3 metres beneath the gigantic Eurasian Plate, which includes a large portion of Europe and Asia. This causes an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale, wreaking havoc in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu and surrounding areas. Numerous buildings collapse, killing and injuring many people instantly. In the days and weeks that follow, the number of victims rises to around 8,600 dead and almost 17,000 injured. Over 250,000 homes are destroyed and a further 213,000 are badly damaged, leaving millions of people homeless. The earthquake is so powerful that it claims victims not only in Nepal but also in the surrounding countries. A second earthquake, a so-called aftershock, kills dozens of people.
An earthquake of this magnitude affects people in various ways. Many are killed, wounded or left homeless. Moreover, the surroundings in which they grew up and practise their faith are seriously damaged. Numerous historical buildings such as temples in Nepal suffered destruction. These are special places that play a central role in the everyday lives of people. Some of these structures are world heritage sites, the name given to cultural and natural sites considered so irreplaceable and unique that they belong to all of mankind and their preservation is of great importance. Only heritage sites that are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List are entitled to use this title. Of the eight such world heritage sites in Nepal, five suffered serious damage. Reconstruction work will take place over the coming years.