Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Eyewitness Account Of A Great Nepal Earthquake

From 1934 - as reported by military officer Bhrama Shumsher Rana in his book  Mahabhukamp (The Great Earthquake) -

“The trees were moving as if they were agitated by a storm and it seemed that the tree-tops would touch the ground … Pillars and walls of houses were cracking,doors and windows slamming. With movements up and down, houses collapsed. Statues and decorations placed on top of temples and houses fell to the ground. The noise made by the houses collapsing was reminiscent of canon fire, as…during festivities. Because of the dust, it was darker and no one was able to see at more than a distance of 8 to 10 hands apart. This cloud of dust came from the city itself, invading open areas such as the Thundikhel—a large open and unconstructed space in the centre of Kathmandu—which was such as lost in a fog. People rushed to all these open spaces. Those who could not move themselves were seizing pillars, while others were searching to hide in shelters or ran to the fields. People would run on all fours like animals…”

“Cracks opened in the fields and roads. Water spurted from these cracks. There was flooding in all streams.Rivers like the Bagmati and Bishnumati were invaded by black muddy water. At some places, the water rose 8to 10 hands above the cracks. Many fields were flooded with water. Warm water and sand spurted from some of the cracks. The roads toward Balaju and Shankhamul were affected by a subsidence as large as one or both hands in height. There were few roads that were not cracked.”

via Bollinger et al 2014 

Kathmandu has been leveled and rebuilt several times over the past 1000 years or so. There are a series of posts on Dot Earth about damage done by the recent 7.8 mag Nepal earthquake, on building codes and earthquake preparedness.

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