The earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday 25th of April was the worst to hit the country that killed more than 8,000 .At nightfall, Nepal’s capital became a tent city, as thousands of residents displaced by Saturday’s devastating earthquake stayed in their dark gardens and out on the cracked streets and lanes, afraid to go back inside because of waves of aftershocks, including a powerful jolt Sunday that the U.S. Geological Survey said measured 6.7 magnitude and which sent people fleeing for open ground and safety.
It had been a pleasant Saturday morning, with families just sitting down to lunch and tourists thronging to Kathmandu’s Durbar Square when the temblor hit, a horrible rocking motion that seemed to go on without end. The quake was ultimately felt across South Asia — in Lahore, in New Delhi, in Dhaka. Snow avalanched down Mount Everest..At least 10 climbers and guides were killed by the avalanche, which reportedly buried some portions of the camp while missing others, leaving unknown numbers of people injured and missing. Buildings fell, mud-joined huts collapsed. By the end of the night, more than 1,900 lay dead, Nepalese officials said, with countless more injured and bodies still undiscovered.
And another kind of death: Durbar Square — the historic heart of Kathmandu, filled with temples centuries old — lay in ruins. More than 100 people were killed at that site alone. The iconic Dharahara tower fell, too. “There’s nothing left,” one despairing survivor told CNN-IBN, news channel.
Powerful New Quake hits devastated Nepal :
A deadly magnitude 7.3 earthquake has struck Nepal, two weeks after a devastating quake killed more than 8,000 people in the Himalayan nation, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has reported. Dozens dead after massive quake .
The temblor triggered landslides and toppled buildings in Nepal that recently witnessed its worst quake in over 80 years and over 160 aftershocks. At the main hospital in Kathmandu, patients hurt in last month’s quake were brought out in wheelchairs to avoid further injury. Today’s quake had its impact in several cities in Bihar, West Bengal and UP and tremors were felt across vast stretches of east and northeast India, where the death toll has reached 17 so far. The tremors were also felt in China, where one woman was killed in Tibet.
A Twist in the Nepalese Crises:
One of the more unexpected rescues from the Nepal earthquake is the evacuation of 26 newborn babies to Israel. Parents of these babies are mostly gay men, Israelis. The newborns were carried and delivered by surrogate mothers in Nepal. And Israel’s decision to airlift the babies but leave the mothers behind has caused some controversy.Debra Kamin is an Israeli journalist in Tel Aviv, reporting this story for Time magazine.
The rescue process, coupled with widely published photos of the newborns being cradled by Israeli medics on the Tel Aviv tarmac, has thrust Israel’s reliance on Nepalese surrogates into the spotlight, revealing a little known link between Nepal and Israel and starting a debate here about the ethics of international surrogacy.
The precarious situation of surrogate mothers in Nepal carrying babies for Israelis, as well as the ethical questions surrounding surrogacy in the developing world, should be treated with the utmost seriousness. But what does Israel’s interior minister do? He laughs at them.The arrival in Israel this week of a score of newborns including two premature babies born to Indian surrogates living in Nepal, has shed light on the little-known ethical, financial, religious, medical and social problems surrounding the issue. Only heterosexual couples can legally turn to surrogacy in Israel, so homosexual couples look to other countries and generally look eastward to India and now Nepal, since it is much cheaper than the West.
Surrogacy is illegal in many countries abroad due to the concern that it could lead to human trafficking. It is legal in the US and used to be legal in India and Thailand. But two years ago, India decided to forbid it so as not to contravene international agreements over human trafficking .Surrogacy arrangements are very expensive in the US, costing about $150,000, compared to $30,000 in Nepal. But today the Nepalese government only allows surrogacy for married heterosexual couples, and the woman who delivers the baby is considered the mother .
At least two Israeli agencies arranging surrogacy agreements abroad circumvent the prohibition by “importing” women from India who live “in substandard, crowded conditions” in Nepal to carry and deliver the babies. The agencies get most of the money, while the surrogates receive $5,000- $6,000. India was the most popular place for Israelis to find surrogates, but according to a new Indian law introduced in 2013 prevents ”gay men and couples who had been married for less than two years from engaging surrogate mothers.” As a result, Nepal has become the number-one surrogacy destination for Israelis. In some cases, Indian women travel to Nepal to birth babies for Israelis and as a result Indian women pregnant with Israeli babies are also trapped in the Nepal quake aftermath ,Because of the disaster and complications around the babies and mothers being stuck in a disaster zone, many are now pushing Israel to change its surrogacy laws, since surrogacy became legal in Israel in 1996, about 300 infants were produced. Last year alone, there were 100 babies carried by 45 surrogates.
Tammuz, an international surrogacy agency based in Israel, facilitated the births of 15 of the 26 Israeli babies evacuated by the Israeli government from Kathmandu this week. In the past eight years, it has assisted about 400 couples, 80 percent of them gay, to have children this way. The agency also works with couples from the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia reports have argued that paid surrogacy exploits vulnerable women, and there have been reports of women being trafficked into the industry in India, where there are said to be more than 3,000 fertility clinics. Roy Youldos, the agency’s marketing and business development manager, said 80 surrogate mothers in different stages of pregnancy are still in Nepal, waiting to give birth for foreign couples. All the mothers are Indian nationals, but they spend their pregnancies in Kathmandu. Youldos said all survived the earthquake.
Some Israeli officials have suggested bringing the surrogates to Israel to give birth, but it remains unclear whether that will happen.The future of Israeli surrogacy in Nepal remains up in the air. The main concern is the urgently need for clean water, food, shelter and medical care.
Quick Facts on Nepal :
- With a population of 27.6 million people Nepal is among the world’s poorest nations
- 77 per cent of the population survive on the equivalent of under £1.50 per day
- According to UN figures almost half of all of children under five suffer from malnutrition.
- The Nepalese economy is based on agriculture and tourism.
- A decade long civil war ended in 2006. Two years later the King handed over power to a democratic government, ending a 240 year long monarchy.
- Since 2006 the country has been a secular democracy. Hindus make up 80 per cent of the population.
- Lumbini, a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Kapilavastu district, is said to be the birthplace of the Buddha.
- Powerful floods and landslides strike every monsoon season; destroying homes, roads and crops. In the past decade landslides in Nepal have killed over 1300 people and destroyed 10,000 homes
- Nepal has been identified as one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change over the next 30 years
- Nepal is vulnerable to earthquakes as it sits on the boundary between two tectonic plates that collided 50 million years ago forming the Himalayas
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