AEES Member Bipin Shrestha is currently in Nepal and has sent some photos from a village called Nikoshera, Bhaktapur which is located approx 6kms east of Kathmandu city centre. This small village is famous for its terracotta pottery. Around 50 houses (almost all of them masonry wall with mud mortar) in this village have been severely damaged.
University of Melbourne PhD student, Tilak Pokharel, is representing AEES in Nepal and has also sent some images and a short diary:
I arrived kathmandu on Saturday and started working from Sunday. I felt some aftershocks and one of that was very strong but didn’t cause many damages but enough to send many people again to tent. Its been more than 30 hours now since the last aftershock and this (30 hours) is the longest time gap after major quake. The life here is returning to normal and most of the schools opened from Sunday which had been closed after the earthquake.
I am also working closely with government and non-government experts. I had meeting with experts from different field (earthquake, geology, landslide, geotechnical, road, electricity etc) and had very fruitful discussion. They shared the work they have done so far and gave some suggestions for us.
1. Dharahara: Most of the tower collapsed in the 25 April 2015 Nepal earthquake, but the base remains. About 180 bodies were found in the rubble. Nine storey (61.88 meter high) historical tower. It was also damaged by 1934 earthquake and restored two years later. The tower had a spiral staircase containing 213 steps. The eighth floor held a circular balcony for observers that provided a panoramic view of the Kathmandu valley. The tower was a major tourist attraction and was open to the public from 2005 until its collapse due to the 2015 earthquake. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharahara).
2. Kathmandu Durbar Square (UNESCO Heritage site): It is one of the Nepal’s most popular tourist attraction. The place used to be busy with local and foreign tourists. The Kasthamandap Temple (from which the city was named) was also there in the square and completely destroyed by the earthquake. It was a three storey temple made out of a single tree. The blood donation program was going on there when the earthquake struck. Until 1896, Nepalese Kings used to rule from the square. Most of the structures were built during 15th to 18th century. Over 100 people died in the Durbar square alone.
3. Balaju: One of the most hit area in Kathmandu. Several building completely collapsed and many more buildings partially collapsed in these area. One building is tilted and could collapse at any time. The completely collapsed buildings were between 4 – 7 storey height. About 100 people died in single building and in total about 150 people were dead in this area. The person in creamy white shirt with black backpack is me 🙂