Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal registered on the Richter scale at magnitude-7.9, the most devastating natural disaster to hit the area since the magnitude-8.0 quake in 1934.
So far the death toll has risen to at least 3,700 people, with dozens more expected to be plucked from the rubble in the aftermath. Turkish rescue workers were able to pull a survivor from the debris of a building this morning, having been trapped inside for two days. His condition was not known, however he was seen moving his head as he was stretchered away to receive medical aid.
Thousands of sick and wounded casualties have no other choice but to live out in the open, fearing any refuge they may seek could potentially collapse. Almost 100 aftershocks have impacted rescue efforts as well as frightening survivors left to sleep in open squares and parks.
Following the 2011 Tsunami in Japan, in which thousands of people were unable to locate the whereabouts of their kin for weeks, an app was launched to allow those in the affected areas to notify their family and friends that they were alive and well, to prevent their close ones from panicking.
Facebooks’ founder, Mark Zuckerberg, stated, “This morning we activated Safety Check for people affected by the earthquake in Nepal. When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe. It's moments like this that being able to connect really matters,”
Another company to offer their assistance during and post natural disasters, is the tech-giant Google. After the 2011 Haiti earthquake, an open source API was developed which allowed people to search for relatives or offer their information regarding another individual. You can also subscribe to updates regarding the location of other people.
It has been incredibly difficult in the aftermath of the earthquake, to receive or make calls into Nepal, due to the damage caused. To assist in the search and rescue operation, American telecommunication networks, such as T-Mobile, have offered free calls to and from the country. Digital services like Viber and Google Voice have also significantly cut their prices as a result of the disaster. Although Viber is not billing any calls made in the area, Google Voice has reduced its costs from 19 cents per minute to 1 cent per minute, in an effort to put off potential spammers who could abuse the system, whilst also providing a cheaper service to help people get in touch during the aftermath of the disaster.
The damage caused by the earthquake can be seen in the before and after images below of famous landmarks.
ALMOST 5 YEARS AGO BY JAMES O'ROURKE