Saturday's catastrophic earthquake in Nepal – which measured 7.8 on the Richter scale – wrecked houses, levelled centuries-old temples and triggered avalanches on Mount Everest, killing over 2299 people. At least 18 people were killed on Mount Everest, and hundreds of tourists and guides are now trapped or buried in snow and ice there as rescue parties struggle to reach them. The quake also killed at least 51 in India, 17 in Tibet and two in Bangladesh.
Here is a gist of developments related to the massive quake:
1. Most of the 2299 deaths occurred in Katmandu and the surrounding valley, leaving more than 4,700 people injured. The quake touched a vast expanse of the subcontinent. Residents of Katmandu ran into the streets and other open spaces as buildings fell. The quake caused wide cracks on paved streets and in the walls of city buildings. Motorcycles tipped over and slid off the edge of a highway.
2. The United States Geological Survey said there were 12 aftershocks, one of which measured 6.6. The earthquake also shook several cities across northern India, and was felt as far away as Lahore in Pakistan, Lhasa in Tibet, and in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
3. Today (April 26) a high-intensity earthquake jolted Nepal and Northern India once again. The epicentre was Lamjung in Nepal. The magnitude of quake was measured 6.8 on the Richter scale. Tremors were felt across the North India including Delhi and Noida.
4. Four of Kathmandu's seven Unesco World Heritage sites were severely damaged in the earthquake: Bhaktapur Durbar Square, a temple complex built in the shape of a conch shell; Patan Durbar Square, which dates to the third century; Basantapur Durbar Square, which was the residence of Nepal's royal family until the 19th century; and the Boudhanath Stupa, one of the oldest Buddhist monuments in the Himalayas.
5. The nine-story Dharahara Tower, which was built in 1832 on the orders of the queen, was reduced to just its base after a powerful earthquake measuring 7.9 on Richter scale struck Nepal on Saturday flattening the minaret and trapping hundreds of visitors under its debris. The tower -- which was white, topped with a bronze minaret and contained a spiral staircase of over 200 steps -- was a major tourist attraction in the heart of the capital. It was built in 1832 by then Prime Minister of Nepal Bhimsen Thapa. A small statue of Lord Shiva was placed on the top of the tower. As bodies were pulled from the ruins on Saturday, a policeman said up to 200 people had been trapped inside. Bodies were heaped in a dark room; some covered with cloth, some not. A boy aged about seven lay, his face half missing and his stomach bloated like a football. The stench of death was overpowering.
6. Some buildings in Kathmandu toppled like houses of cards, others leaned at precarious angles, and partial collapses exposed living rooms to with furniture in place and belongings stacked on shelves. Rescuers, some wearing face masks to keep out the dust from collapsed buildings, scrambled over mounds of splintered timber and broken bricks in the hope of finding survivors. Some used their bare hands to fill small white buckets with dirt and rock.
7. Manmade factors have added to the quake risk. Over the years as people flocked to Nepal's capital city, making the Katmandu Valley one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in South Asia,. This has led to proliferation of unreinforced masonry buildings, many of them with open storefronts on the first floor. Two- or three-story buildings were raised to six-, seven- or eight-story structures.
8. On Sunday, survivors wandered the streets clutching flimsy bed rolls and blankets, while others sat in the street cradling their children, surrounded by a few plastic bags of belongings. The calamity is said be the worst in over 80 years of Nepal's history.
9. Unlike the earthquakes where two plates sliding past each other horizontally, the earthquake in Nepal was caused by a thrust fault, in which two plates collide. The fault also is shallow, meaning that the shaking occurs near the surface, rather than deep in the earth.
10. India on Sunday launched 'Operation Maitri' to rescue people trapped after massive earthquake of 7.9 magnitude hit Nepal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that 'India is with the sisters and brothers of Nepal in its time of crisis following the terrible earthquake'. "We share the grief of our Nepali brethren. Nepal's pain is India's pain. I can easily imagine the horror of earthquakes," Modi said in his radio address 'Mann Ki Baat' on All India Radio (AIR). "We will wipe the tears of every Nepali, hold their hands and give every support," he said.
11. Nearly 550 Indians have been evacuated by the IAF from Nepal even as India stepped up its relief and rescue mission with 10 flights and 12 helicopters scheduled to carry specialists and equipment to Kathmandu today.
12. NDRF teams have been sent to Nepal to assist in the rescue operations. Seven teams are already present in the quake-hit nation. Helicopters airlifted injured climbers off Mount Everest Sunday after an avalanche killed at least 17 people.
13. Government of India has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the families of the victims who have lost their lives in earthquake. A meeting of National Crisis Management, headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, will be held in the afternoon to assess the rescue and relief operations. Air India has resumed flight operations to Kathmandu with two services - one each from Delhi and Kolkata early morning.
14. The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was strong enough to merit a “red alert” for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. It said that “high casualties and extensive damage are probable and the disaster is likely widespread. Past red alerts have required a national or international response.” Quick USGS calculations estimate a two-thirds likelihood of between 1,000 and 100,000 fatalities and damage between $100 million and $10 billion. Scientists estimate that more than 105 million people felt at least moderate shaking during the quake.
15. China is sending a 62-member search and rescue team, plus six dogs, that should arrive Sunday, state-run news agency Xinhua reported. British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged that the United Kingdom "will do all we can to help." The European Union said it is prepared to help in the international assistance effort. Pakistan said it is sending four C-130 aircraft carrying doctors, hospital equipment, food, tents and search and rescue teams equipped with ground-penetrating radar. Sri Lanka was also sending doctors, paramedics and medicine.