Massive 7.9 Earthquake in Nepal: Tourism to be affected

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The US Geological Survey noted: An earthquake with magnitude 7.9 occurred near Lamjung, Nepal at 06:11:26 UTC on Apr 25, 2015.

The most affected region is the Kathmandu valley. The capital city – Kathmandu saw huge destruction and death toll already risen to 1500. This is the biggest earthquake in this region in last 80 years. Light to moderate tremors were also felt in northern and eastern India, Tibet and Bangladesh. In India as of now death toll has rose to 37. Many buildings have developed cracks in the process.

Many tourist in Nepal are stranded now, specially in the Kathmandu valley. Indian tourists were asked by Indian government to contact the Indian embassy in Nepal for any help they need. Indian government under PM Modi has already started massive rescue and relief efforts. This is the time to show solidarity to our neighbor and show that we will indeed act like an elder brother.

Modi said: Nepal’s pain is our pain.

For sometime, scientists have predicted big ones for this region. A recent earthquake in the Himalayan region was in Pakistan occupied Kashmir where approximately 100,000 people were killed. In my research on this quake I found a study by KVERMP (Kathmandu Valley Earthquake Risk Management Project) which predicted a big one to hit Kathmandu in future. This event will severely affect tourism in Nepal. A large part of its GDP comes from tourism. With severe infrastructure damage including destructing of historic sites like the Dharahara tower brings a massive blow to the tourism industry. Building infrastructure is going to take time and so the tourism industry will also take time to come on its feet again. Many mountaineers who were on their way to climb mount Everest (the highest peak in the world) lost their life due to an avalanche. Apart from Kathmandu, some other towns like Bharatpur and Pokhra has also been affected.

In the immediate aftermath of this, it would be wise for travelers to avoid Nepal for a while.

Good read:

Seismic Vulnerability in the Himalayan Region by Dr. Harihar Paudyal and Ananta Panthi