Impacts of the earthquakes in Nepal

The consequences of the earthquakes in Nepal are significant. A new report with a view of risk, vulnerability, exposure and economic impact.

On 25 April 2015, a catastrophic earthquake with a moment magnitude of Mw7.8 hit the densely populated area of Nepal, west of the capital Kathmandu, causing much damage near the epicenter (Gorkha District) and also the surrounding regions. A second major earthquake took place on 12 May, having a moment magnitude of Mw7.2. The impacts in terms of fatalities, casualties and economic loss are enormous. CEDIM’s Forensic Disaster Analysis (FDA) task force is investigating these events thoroughly in near-real time with a special focus on hazard analysis, vulnerability and exposure metrics, and economic impact information.

The intensities of the first main earthquake reached a level of VIII on the Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) Scale. Over 50 aftershocks with a magnitude greater than 4.7 have occurred, with magnitude 5 and 6 earthquakes continuing to pepper the region east of the epicenter. A second, triggered earthquake occurred on 12 May 2015.

The significant number of people displaced after the earthquakes who need shelter is driven by damaged buildings, utility outages and other forms of building inhabitability, but is also aggravated by socio-economic vulnerability. Furthermore the frequent large aftershocks following the earthquakes lead to widespread concern about the safety of buildings and therefore additional population displacement.

The severe earthquake hit a country that belongs to the 20 poorest countries in the world. Nepal has a net capital stock of around $36 billion USD with approximately 28.8 million inhabitants. Agriculture (outside Central region) and trade are the key components of GDP, but Kathmandu and the Central and Western regions are also main tourist areas with the area accounting for 5% of GDP through tourism (direct/ indirect). The economic loss is modelled at around 3.8 billion USD (3.21-6.02 billion USD) from the CATDAT model as released through Earthquake-Report and CEDIM. The replacement cost is estimated to be around 5.3 billion USD (4.88-8.44 billion USD) using the intensity patterns and historically observed losses.

The current report is availabe here. CEDIM is following and analyzing the Nepal earthquake and its consequences since 25. April, and has issued first report on 27. April. A second one with focus on shelter followed one week later. CEDIM researches continue to analyze the impact and consequences of the earthquake. 

The Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology, CEDIM, is an interdisciplinary research institution of the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

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