Archive for May, 2015

Today’s big earthquake was distressingly close to Sundrawoti

On the morning of my 10,000th day on earth, I woke up to discover that while I slept, Kathmandu had been hit by a devastating earthquake. The initial report I received included the quake’s magnitude, that the ground had shaken for ten minutes (this turned out to be an exaggeration), and that over a dozen people had died on Everest. All told, 211 people had been reported dead.

My first reaction: “That number is going to go way up.”

It did, but fortunately not (yet) as much as I initially feared. And so far as I know, nobody I know personally perished in the tragedy. Tevel B’Tzedek sent an email shortly after the earthquake indicating that “nothing” had happened in Sundrawoti. It later became clear that many houses there were severely damaged, but all residents of the village seemingly managed to escape with their lives. A series of updates via Facebook over the past two weeks reassured me that Sundrawoti was in a relatively good situation.

Now I’m worried all over again. I woke up this morning to discover Nepal was struck by another aftershock earthquake, this one registering 7.3. Whereas the first earthquake was centered west of Kathmandu, this one struck east of the capital, near Nepal’s border with Tibet. One aid worker — still in the field after the first earthquake — told the New York Times, “The mountains before my eyes started tumbling down in massive landslides. There are continuous landslides in this area.”

So that’s not good.

Here’s a map, with a pin through the epicenter. It’s a bit off-center so I could include Everest, because many news reports (see, e.g. BBC) describe the location as being “near Everest”: