Twenty four hours after Nepal was rattled by a massive earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, more than 3,000 people have lost their lives, and villages, roads, highways and ancient buildings have been devastated. The total economic losses from the damage could be between $1 billion and $10 billion, according to the US Geological Survey’s best estimate.
In all, the destruction could push the economy of Nepal—already one of the world’s poorest countries—back by a decade or more, significantly hurting the small Himalayan nation’s efforts to move from a “Least Developed Country” to a “Developing Country” by 2022.
“Almost 100 quakes in the last 24 hours have pushed us 50 years back to the past, in terms of infrastructural damage alone,” said Mukesh Khanal, an economist who works in the international development sector in Nepal.
Meanwhile, strong aftershocks are continuing to hit the region. At 12.39pm on April 26, another earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale hit Nepal, and was felt across parts of northern India.
Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors.
Victims of the earthquake that hit Nepal yesterday are cremated on April 26, 2015 in Bhaktapur, Nepal. Photo by Omar Havana/Getty Images
Nepalese residents mourn the death of a relative following an earthquake, at a mass cremation at Pashupatinath in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. Photo by Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images
A man runs past damaged houses as aftershocks of an earthquake are felt a day after the earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal April 26, 2015. Photo by Navesh Chitrakar/REUTERS
Nepalese resident Suresh Parihar plays with his 8-month-old daughter Sandhaya as he is treated for injuries sustained in an earthquake
Rescue team personnel carry an injured person towards a waiting rescue helicopter at Everest Base Camp on April 26, 2015, a day after an avalanche triggered by an earthquake devastated the camp. Photo by Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
People stand in line to get drinking water.
People queue up as they wait for an aircraft to evacuate to their country at Nepal’s Tribhuvan International Airport a day after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake, in Kathmandu, Nepal April 26, 2015. Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/REUTERS
A woman mourns the death of a family member a day after an earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal April 26, 2015. Photo by Navesh Chitrakar/REUTERS
People assist in removing debris after earthquake
Injured people are tended to outside of hospital.
Avalance triggered by the earthquake at mount everest.
Cracks after the earthquake splitting the road in two.
Nepalese residents sleep in an open area in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015, after an earthquake hit the Kathmandu Valley. Photo by Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images