The latest on the tragedy in Nepal

LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS

Here’s the latest on what happened and the situation on the ground in Nepal.

Q: How many people have died so far?
A: As of Wednesday, more than 5,200 people had died in the quake, according to authorities in Nepal. Thousands more were injured in that country alone.

150501_world01In addition, the quake killed more than 60 in India and more than 20 people in China’s Tibet region.

Additional deaths were reported in Bangladesh.

In addition, the quake killed at least 69 people in India and 20 people in China’s Tibet region.

Additional deaths were reported in Bangladesh. Officials in Nepal say more than 6,900 people have been injured.

Q: How many Americans have died in the quake?
A: At least four Americans have been reported dead; all of them were at the base camp area of Mount Everest when the quake struck.

Q: Why was the Nepal earthquake so deadly?
A: A number of factors are believed to have contributed to the high death toll, not least of which was lax seismic standards.

Kathmandu Valley is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in South Asia, and many of the people who flocked to the city live in unreinforced masonry buildings. Some two- or three-story buildings have been raised as high as eight stories, increasing the chance they could collapse with major shaking.

Geohazard International found that two-thirds of the region’s structures did not meet Nepal’s seismic codes. According to a 2013 report by the U.S. Agency for International Development, outside groups had been working with the Nepalese government to shore up seismic safety and building standards, including building more quake-resistant buildings and training engineers.

The April 25 quake was especially deadly because the fault ruptured toward Kathmandu. The area is located on a former lakebed, which makes it particularly vulnerable during a big quake because the loose soil can amplify shaking.

Officials say the quake occurred at a depth of only seven miles, which is relatively shallow in geological terms. Shallower quakes are more destructive.

In 1934, the 8.2 Nepal-Bihar earthquake, which was centered about 150 miles southeast of last Saturday’s temblor, caused around 10,600 deaths, destroyed 20 percent of the Kathmandu Valley’s buildings, and damaged an additional 40 percent.

Q: What international aid is being sent?
A: The U.S. sent a disaster assistance response team to Kathmandu, and the U.S. Embassy immediately released $1 million in initial humanitarian assistance.

On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry announced an additional $9 million in U.S. aid for the Nepal earthquake response and recovery.

The Pentagon sent a cargo jet carrying 45 tons of humanitarian supplies and nearly 70 personnel. A cargo plane carrying 26 personnel already was in Nepal for a training exercise.

Israel sent a 260-person team, including search-and-rescue units and medical personnel equipped to set up a field hospital within hours of landing. Japan sent a 72-person rescue team.

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