By Jeff King
There will be a fundraiser on Maui tonight to help victims of the Nepal earthquake. The event will be held at the Temple of Peace in Haiku tonight beginning at 7 p.m. Click here for details. The Temple of Peace is at 575 Haiku Road in Haiku.
Stories of survival and of unimaginable destruction are streaming at roughly an equal pace from Nepal today. The official death toll now stands at 7,040 with at least 14,ooo people still missing or unaccounted for. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25 leveled villages and ancient temples.
Almost unbelievable is the fact that the earth literally changed in the region. The city of Kathmandu sank by an aggregate depth of about 12 feet. Even Mount Everest sank. The estimate is about one inch.
Scientists employing the Japenese satellite Sentinel 1 are tracking changes in the landscape and offer a grim forecast: The shifting of the earth on the day of the quake did not release the majority of stress pressured on subterranean plates. Forecasts of aftershocks of 5.0 and higher could continue for several months.
While aid is pouring in from all over the world, the logistics of getting materials to victims is mind boggling. Add to that the stories of scammers, human traffickers and corrupt “humanitarians,” taking “their slice” and the nightmare gets even worse.
Nepal’s Tourist Police say 109 foreigners are still unaccounted for, including 12 Russians and nine Americans. A total of 57 have been killed, including 40 Indians, and another 52 are injured. The village of Langtang – a popular trekking hamlet in Langtang Valley – is gone. All that remains standing is one house. Everything and everyone else lies below tons of ice and rock after avalanches and landslides roared through.
As if this all wasn’t bad enough, the regions annual monsoon rains are forecast to come in just a few weeks. What experts on the ground say are needed most are blankets, medicine and tents. The irony of arriving aid shipments is that the tiny international airport in Kathmandu can’t accommodate the large cargo carriers that initially came.
Nepal’s only international airport was closed Sunday to large military and cargo planes flying in relief material to prevent damage to the airport’s only runway. Birendra Shrestha, manager of Tribhuwan International Airport, located on the outskirts of Kathmandu, said the runway was built to handle only medium-size jetliners, but was deteriorating due to large military and cargo planes flying in quake relief material for over a week.
He said there have been reports of the runway developing cracks. Nepalese authorities are asking donors to use smaller planes.
In literally all images from the ravaged country, peace flags are omnipresent. They flutter in the wind in stark contrast to the devastation dealt without any possible warning.