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Tibetan communities devastated by Nepal quake PDF Print E-mail
[UPDATED 14 May 2015] On 25 April, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal leaving more than 8,000 people dead and thousands homeless. The earthquake caused much devastation amongst Tibetan communities both in Nepal and Tibet. Ten Tibetans are reported to have died in Nepal and, according to Chinese state media, 25 in Tibet. A second earthquake hit Nepal on 12 May.

[14 May] UPDATE: The earthquake on 25 April, of magnitude 7.8 and with an epicentre in the Gorkha district, was the worst to hit Nepal in more than 80 years damaging a significant amount of Nepal's infrastructure including many historical monuments and buildings in Kathmandu.

Bagang nunnery damageAccording to the Tibetan government in exile, at least ten Tibetans, including three children, have died in Nepal due to the earthquake. One of the adults is a nun from Sengdrak nunnery in Bagang, on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Other nuns injured at the same location have now been airlifted to Kathmandu for medical attention. (Damage to the nunnery is pictured on the right.)

Nepal declined an offer from the Taiwanese government of assistance with rescue efforts. It is believed the refusal was due to the China's influence over Nepalese politics. China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and pressures nations not to recognise Taiwan as an independent state.

In Tibet, official reports state that 25 Tibetans died and four remain missing in the area of the Tibet Autonomous Region bordering Nepal. According to Chinese state news agency Xinhua, 20,000 relief workers had been deployed to the TAR, supported by 4,100 military personnel. Over 2,500 buildings in the TAR were reported to have been destroyed, plus 82 monasteries were damaged, 13 severely. Over 47,000 have been made homeless and a further 300,000 have been affected since the first earthquake, and its following aftershocks. State media also reported that it took nearly two weeks to clear the Gyirong Pass a key part of the China-Nepal highway.

On 12 May, a second earthquake, of magnitude 7.3, hit Nepal followed by six aftershocks within an hour. As of 14 May, 110 deaths have been reported in Nepal and a further 2,000 injured. No Tibetans were reported to have died in Nepal.The epicentre was near Namche Bazaar, in the eastern Nepalese district of Solukhumbu, an area close to the Tibet border. Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported the death of a Tibetan woman due to a landslide triggered by the earthquake plus two others injured in Kyirong, southern Tibet..

Map of 2nd quake

Further reading:
NYT: Nepal rejects Taiwanese offer of rescue help (27 Apr)
VOA: People on Tibet-Nepal border devastated by quake (30 Apr)
ICT: The impact of the Nepal earthquake in Tibet (1 May)
Phayul: Tibetan death toll in Nepal earthquake at six (5 May)
CTA: Ten Tibetans dead, three nuns rescued in Nepal (6 May)
BBC: Nepal earthquake, magnitude 7.3, strikes near Everest (12 May)   
VOA: 24 killed as quake rocks Nepal (12 May)
WSJ: Nepal earthquake death toll rises (14 May)
Nepal quake leaves 1 dead, 2 injured in Tibet (14 May)

TRF logoTibet Relief Fund has launched an appeal to help Tibetan refugees and communities to rebuild their homes and livelihoods following the devastating earthquake in Nepal.
Click here to donate

Latest News (29 April)
As of 29 April, the death toll in the Nepal earthquake had reached 5,000. The Nepalese Prime Minister says the death toll could reach 10,000. More than 10,000 people have been injured. According to the UN, eight million people have been affected by the disaster, with 1.4 million requiring food aid.

Reports from Tibetan communities within Nepal are still limited. To date, five Tibetans are confirmed to have died, but many remote communities are yet to be contacted. Some monasteries and other Tibetan community buildings are known to have been damaged. The Tibetan government in exile (CTA) has reported that Libing Sendrak Rinpoches monastery in the Boudha/Jorpati region has sustained severe damage.

Update on Tibetan communities in Nepal (29 April)
A Tibet Society source with reliable contacts in Nepal has compiled information about the impact on the earthquake on Tibetan communities in Nepal. However, it should be noted that communications and access is still limited so the full extent of casualties and damage is not yet known.

To date, five Tibetan deaths in Nepal have been confirmed, as well as several serious injuries. Major damage to buildings in some Tibetan communities has also been reported.

Most Tibetans are sleeping outside as aftershocks continue to hit the region. Even, as our source was speaking to a contact in Kathmandu another aftershock hit and the line was lost.

The information received so far by area:

Kathmandu Valley:

Namgyal Middle School: No casualties. Some cracks in buildings, fences demolished.
Namgyal Higher Secondary School: No casualties. Some cracks in buildings, fences demolished.
Shree Songtsen Bhrikuti Boarding High School: No casualties. Classrooms closed due to large cracks.
Tibetan Refugee Welfare Office: No casualties. Staff quarters badly damaged
Swayambhunath: One Tibetan died and one badly injured, with broken limbs, due to a house collapsing. The building was home to a Tibetan family with five children originally from Manang.
Other areas in Kathmandu: Two Tibetans confirmed dead in Boudha area, one of which was due to a wall collapsing. Major damage is reported to monasteries and houses in the area.

Rasuwa: GyeGyeling Tibetan Settlement is probably the worst hit Tibetan community. Two Tibetans died, Pasang, an 83 year old woman from the settlement and Lhakpa Rinzin, a trekking guide. Lhakpa is believed to have died in Langtang during an avalanche. There is major damage to buildings, however access is limited as roads are blocked.

Solukhumbu: No casualties reported. No serious damage, only minor cracks.

Tsagam & Bagam: A Tibetan nun is reported to have died plus several injured, all from a nunnery based higher up in the mountain.

Walung: No casualties or serious damage reported.

Western Nepal and Mustang: No casualties reported.  No serious damage, only minor cracks.

TRF logoTibet Relief Fund has launched an appeal to help Tibetan refugees and communities to rebuild their homes and livelihoods following the devastating earthquake in Nepal. Click here to donate

Update: inside Tibet (28 April)
According to state media, 25 Tibetans are known to have died in Tibet and 117 injured as a result of the earthquake.
According to Radio Free Asia, six of those reported to have died were in the border town of Dram. The number of casualties is expected to rise as rescue teams reach more remote areas. Reports also indicate up to 80% of houses have collapsed in the worst affected areas - Gyirong, Nyalam and Tingri.

According to sources quoted by Voice of America, there has been extensive damage to houses, roads and infrastructure in the Tibetan counties bordering Nepal. Many people are reported to be sleeping outside, as in Nepal, for fear of further building collapses during aftershocks. There are also widespread communications outages.

Oxfam is reported to have sent a China-based team into Tibet to asses humanitarian needs.

Further reading:
BBC: Nepal on 'war footing' as quarter of population hit by quake (28 Apr)
VOA: Many border areas in Tibet hit hard by quake (28 Apr)
CTA: Situation of Tibetans in Nepal after earthquake (28 Apr)
RFA: Tibetans in exile pledge support for Nepal quake victims (27 Apr)

Telegraph: Footage of quake in border town of Dram (28 Apr)

Nepal earthquake map
Latest news (27 April)
According to the BBC, as of 10am GMT on 27 April, over 3,600 people have died in Nepal due to the earthquake. The full impact on Tibetan communities in Nepal is not yet known. The earthquake's epicentre was between Pokhara and Kathmandu, both of which have large populations of Tibetan refugees. There are also numerous Tibetan communities across Nepal, including near the epicentre, many of which are remote and will be difficult to access following the disaster.

According to the BBC, the villages of Bridim and Dhunche, located north of Kathmandu and close to the border with Tibet and predominantly Tibetan, have been "virtually flattened". A source with contacts in the area said, "We have no idea how many people have survived. There are no rescue missions operating in such isolated areas."

Reports from Tibet indicate at least 20 people have died as a result of the earthquake. Areas in the Tibet Autonomous Region bordering Nepal were seriously affected. The "Friendship Highway", linking the border town of Zham to Shigatse has been cut off due to landslides and nearly 25,000 people in Shigatse are reported to have been "relocated".

Tibet Relief Fund, which works with Tibetan refugees in Nepal, is currently trying to determine the status of individuals and projects it sponsors and supports. Updates will be posted on the Tibet Relief Fund website when available.

Further reading:
BBC: Nepal earthquake - latest (27 Apr)
BBC: Fears for Nepal's 'invisible' Tibetan refugees (27 Apr)
PTI: Tibet toll rises to 20; forecast of rain, snow (27 Apr)
Phayul: 17 dead in Tibet quake (26 Apr)

Guardian: CCTV shows moment aftershocks hit Tibet after Nepal earthquake (26 Apr)

TRF logoTibet Relief Fund has launched an appeal to help Tibetan refugees and communities to rebuild their homes and livelihoods following the devastating earthquake in Nepal.
Click here to donate

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