A second earthquake hit Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley last Tuesday, May 12. The 7.3 magnitude earthquake followed Nepal’s other massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25, mere weeks ago.
The death toll from the pair of natural disasters reached 8,583 with thousands more injured.
Thankfully, there are only 42 reported deaths as a result of last Tuesday’s tragedy, a figure far lower than the death toll of the first disaster.
In total, over a half million homes were destroyed, landslides blocked access to remote villages that can neither receive help nor leave and two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Durbar Square and the Dharahara tower, lie in ruin.
The second earthquake caused an additional $1 billion in damages.
Estimated reconstruction costs now total $6 billion, roughly one third of Nepal’s yearly economic output.
The country’s economic situation even before the tandem disasters hit was in a terrible state.
In 2014, Transparency International ranked Nepal as the 126th most corrupt country out of 175.
For the purposes of rebuilding the country, this is a grim figure, as it suggests that the huge international efforts to raise money to help Nepal recover will not be as effective or as timely as it should, given the grave nature of the situation.
Isolated villages need food and other supplies, hospitals need medical equiptment, people need food and temporary shelter and more aid must be going to support search teams and other rescue efforts.
Funds filtering through the government bureaucracy are painfully slow and making people question the value of contributing their funds to disaster relief in Nepal.
Not only does government corruption and sluggishness worsen the emergency, but it also the forecasts a decline in tourism.
Last year, Nepal benefited from the influx of 800,000 tourists that made up aproximately ten percent of the country’s total GDP.
The damage from the earthquakes to tourist sites and a greater fear of death and injury on Mount Everest as a result of de-stabilized ice sheets will dramatically impact the tourism industry in the coming year or more.
Nepal will recover, but there is no telling what lies ahead for the small nation trying to rebuild.
We can only raise awareness, add what we can to relief efforts and hope that our help makes it to those who need relief most.