Earthquake Devastates Kathmandu, Nepal; Airport Closed; Greater than 1,800 Feared Dead

n earthquake with a magnitude reportedly measured at 7.8 on the Richter scale rocked much of Nepal earlier today, with its epicenter located approximately 48 miles northwest of Kathmandu and severely damaging the capital city, according to this article posted at the official Internet web site of the United States Geological Survey.

“Officials in Nepal put the preliminary number of deaths at 1,805, nearly all of them in Katmandu and the surrounding valley, with 4,718 people injured”, according to this article written by Ellen Barry of The New York Times. “But the quake touched a vast expanse of the subcontinent. It set off avalanches around Mount Everest, where at least 10 climbers died. At least 34 deaths occurred in northern India. Buildings swayed in Tibet and Bangladesh.”

Historic structures were also either damaged, flattened or destroyed. The Dharahara Tower — a landmark which was built in 1832 and was popular with visitors — collapsed from the earthquake and trapped hundreds of people. At least 180 bodies were retrieved from its debris.

A minimum of ten people died from avalanches on Mount Everest which were caused by the earthquake.

Numerous aftershocks with magnitudes as much as 6.6 relegated frightened people to sleeping in the streets.

As a comparison, one earthquake which struck Japan back on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 measured a magnitude of 8.9 on the Richter scale. An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 had struck Japan earlier that week.

According to this article posted at NDTV, “All Indian carriers — national airline Air India and private carriers IndiGo and SpiceJet, have put on hold their flight services till they get a go-ahead from the Nepalese aviation authorities.” Flights are not only expected to resume on Sunday, April 26, 2015; but Air India is expected to increase in frequency with two additional flights.

If your plans involve travel to, from or within Kathmandu, expect significant disruptions and have alternate plans available to you. As always, call the airline, hotel or other travel provider for the latest updates…

…meanwhile, my thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victims of this disaster — whose extent is still currently unfolding…

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