Landslide In Nepal Causes Thousands Of People To Flee

Residents of Ramche village in Myagdi district were forced to abandon their homes in the early hours of Sunday, following a massive landslide which made the water levels of the Kali Gandaki River rise a reported 600 ft.

Damaged houses are seen from a helicopter at Charikot, Nepal, Thursday, May 14, 2015. AP / Niranjan Shrestha

What We Know So Far

  • Nepal was hit Tuesday by another powerful earthquake.
  • At least 42 people were killed in Tuesday’s earthquake, Nepal’s Home Ministry said, while over 1,000 were injured.
  • The wreckage of a U.S. military was located on a mountainside Friday. The helicopter, carrying six U.S. Marines and two Nepali soldiers, disappeared Tuesday while helping with the relief effort.
  • The Department of Defense released the names on Sunday of the six U.S. Marines killed in the helicopter crash.
  • The death toll from last month’s earthquake rose past 8,000 people on Monday, with another 16,000 injured.
  • That earthquake measured 7.8 and struck around noon local time on April 26. A strong tremor measuring 6.7 struck the following day.


A massive landslide in western Nepal in the early hours of Sunday caused thousands of people to abandon their homes.

FILE – Mountain village destroyed in the April 25 earthquake seen from a helicopter near Dhadingbesti, in Nepal. Manish Swarup / AP

Residents of Ramche village in Myadgi district were forced to flee, after water levels of the Kali Gandaki River rose a reported 600 feet, according to Nepalese officials.

“We have asked villagers along the riverside in these districts to move to safer places,” interior ministry official Laxmi Prasad Dhakal told Reuters.

No casualties have been reported, but the country’s army was mobilized to assist with the evacuation efforts and help syphon off the water from the lake inadvertently created by the landslide.

One of the country’s largest hydroelectric plants is also thought to be at risk, the BBC reported.

Nepal, still reeling from the massive April 25, 7.8-magnitude quake that killed over 8,000 people, is a mostly mountainous country.

Access to the communities living in those areas was made even more precarious following last month’s quake and the continuous aftershocks which completely destroyed the few existing roads.

The Department of Defense on Sunday released the names of the six U.S. Marines killed when their helicopter went down in Nepal on May 12.

The bodies of the six Marines, along with two Nepalese service members, were brought to the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal on Sunday.

Capt. Dustin R. Lukasiewicz, 29, of Harlan, Nebraska was a pilot with the Marines and an aviation safety officer. His wife is pregnant with their second child.

Facebook: dustin.lukasiewicz

Sgt. Eric M. Seaman, was a 30-year-old husband and father of two from Riverside, California. He was a U.S. Marines helicopter crew chief.

His wife, Samantha, said in an interview with CNN that Seaman joined the military because he wanted to make a difference.

“My husband, he loved his country, and he wanted to protect his country,” she said through tears. “He was a very selfless man, and he would have done anything to help others, and I know that right before he passed away, I know that he helped somebody.

Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Hug, was a combat videographer with Marine Corps Installations Pacific, Okinawa, Japan, and a native of Maricopa, Arizona. He was in Nepal to document the relief effort.

“You’ll never find a better son,” his father, Jim Hug, said in an interview with NBC News. “Devoted and dedicated with love for his mother and family like nothing you’ve ever seen.”

The 29-year-old Sgt. Ward M. Johnson, IV, from Seminole, Florida, was in charge of maintaining the helicopter. He was set to retire from the Marines.

Capt. Christopher Norgren, 31, was a native of Sedgwick, Kansas, where he was a football coach. He was a pilot with the Marines.

“I’ve told him many times that I’m proud of him, and the I love him,” said his father, Ron Norgren, in an interview with NBC News. “And the biggest thing I’m going to miss from is his hugs.”

Cpl. Sara A. Medina, from Kane, Illinois, was a combat photographer with Marine Corps Installations Pacific, Okinawa, Japan. Some of her photographs can be viewed on the Department of Defense’s website.

View this embed ›

Lt. Gen John E. Wissler, who was in charge of the Joint Task Force working in Nepal, thanked the nation and its armed forces for their dedication in the search and recovery of the fallen service members.

“I am honored to serve alongside the Nepalese soldiers and to call them my friends” he said.

“You never hesitated in the joint effort to bring our brothers home. Everyone united — the soldiers hiking through hazardous terrain, the pilots flying in uncertain weather conditions and the Nepalese special forces standing watch over our Marines on a mountainside at night,” Wissler said. “We honor our fallen comrades through our unselfish support to each other in this time of grief.”

The two Nepalese service members were identified by the Nepalese Army as Tapendra Rawal and Basanta Titara, according to The Associated Press.

Nepal’s army said Saturday all 8 bodies have been recovered from the U.S. Marine Corps helicopter crash site.

Nepalese soldiers search for the missing U.S. Marine helicopter in the earthquake affected Dolakha District, Nepal, on May 14, 2015. Niranjan Shrestha / AP

According to a statement given to the Associated Press, U.S. military and Nepali personnel are at the crash site near the mountain village of Kalinchok.

The chopper, which was part of the Marine Light Attack Helicopter squadron based at Camp Pendleton, California, was carrying six U.S. Marines and two Nepali soldiers when it crashed.

It was said to have been last seen in the mountainous region after another helicopter in the area picked up radio chatter about a fuel problem.

President Obama on the Nepal crash: “When our friends are in need, America helps.”

Obama on 6 @USMC in Nepal crash: "They represent a truth that guides our work around the world: when our friends are in need America helps."

— Juliet Eilperin (@eilperin)

It is unlikely there are any survivors in the helicopter crash, a U.S. General confirmed.

Unlikely any survivors in wreckage from helicopter crash in #NepalQuake, US general confirms

— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking)

There were six U.S. marines and two Nepali soldiers on board.

The families of two marines told media outlets on Friday that they were informed by the Marines that their sons were on board the missing helicopter.

Capt. Chris Norgren, a 31-year-old Wichita native, was reportedly the pilot of the helicopter, his father, Ron Norgren, told The Wichita Eagle. Ron Norgren said that Marine Corps representatives informed him on Tuesday that his son was missing. He said Chris sent his mother flowers for Mother’s Day while he was in Nepal.

“I told him I was very proud of him, that he’s over in Nepal helping people out and that he still remembered Mother’s Day,” Ron told The Wichita Eagle. “He texted me back and thanked me for the compliment, and that was about it.”

The family of Marine Lance Cpl. Jacob “Jake” Hug of Phoenix told that their son was part of the crew on the missing helicopter. They said that the Marines have been in touch with them since the craft disappeared in Nepal.

Hug turned 22 on May 6 while he was on temporary assignment in Nepal. His father, Jim Hug, told that the helicopter reported an issue with the fuel line before it disappeared.

BuzzFeed News’ Anup Kaphle, who has recently returned from Nepal, reports on the discovery of the helicopter wreckage:

The wreckage of the U.S. military helicopter which had been missing after the second earthquake hit Nepal on Tuesday has been located, according to Nepal police.

“We have been told by the Nepal army that its search and rescue operation had spotted the wreckage near the village of Kalinchok in Dolakha district,” Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, a spokesperson for Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs, told Buzzfeed News.

Dolakha is the epicenter of Tuesday’s earthquake, where the helicopter had been assigned for relief efforts.

“The wreckage spot is located at 11,200 feet and we’ve sent helicopters to the location,” he said.

Six U.S. Marines and two Nepal army soldiers were abroad the UH-1Y Venom “Huey” helicopter, which had taken off from the northeastern town of Chariot in Dolakha district.

The chopper was from the Marine Light Attack Helicopter squadron based at Pendleton, California, which was said to have been last seen in the mountainous region after another helicopter in the area picked up radio chatter about a fuel problem. Officials with Joint Task Force 505, which oversees the U.S. humanitarian mission in Nepal, had launched multiple efforts to locate and recover the Huey since it disappeared.

Searchers located the wreckage of the missing U.S. helicopter Friday, according to multiple reports.

#BREAKING Nepal army says wreckage of missing US military chopper found

— Agence France-Presse (@AFP)

According to the Nepali Times, searchers from the Nepal Army found the wreckage in the mountains about 35 miles from Kathmandu. The remains of the helicopter were located at an elevation of 11,100 feet and there were reportedly no survivors.

High terrain where wreckage of @USMC Venom found Friday Mt Gauri Shanker (Chomo Tseringma) in background

— Kunda Dixit (@kundadixit)

The UH-1Y Huey helicopter had been delivering humanitarian aid as well as evacuating people with injuries to Kathmandu. Before disappearing, it was last seen near Charikot, Nepal, officials said.

The AP reported that three bodies had been found near the wreckage.

BREAKING: Nepal's defense secretary says rescue team found 3 bodies near crashed U.S. Marine helicopter

— The Associated Press (@AP)

The death toll from this week’s magnitude-7.3 earthquake in Nepal has risen to 114, CNN reported on Thursday.

Authorities said the earthquake killed 96 people in Nepal, 17 in India, and one in China, bringing the total to 114.

More than 2,500 others were injured, Nepali Home Ministry spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal said, according to CNN.

The Nepalese police official who reportedly stated the missing U.S. Marine helicopter had been located says he was misquoted by local media.

Dolakha Police Chief who ws quoted earlier by Ujyalo radio as saying missing US chopper spotted now says he was misquoted. Searches continue

— Nepali Journalists (@jhyal)

US Military has not confirmed they have located missing Helicopter in Nepal. Marine Spokesperson says they have yet to make contact.

— Sergio Quintana (@svqjournalist)

UPDATE U.S. Pacific Command has not gotten word U.S military helo has been found...saying Nepalese police was "misquoted" by media in Nepal.

— Kimberly Hunt (@10NewsHunt)

The U.S. military helicopter that went missing Tuesday in Nepal was apparently spotted, the government reported.

USA helicopter found at Dolkha, Sunkhani Tatopani and 4 helicopters are mobilized to search (Com. lost due to fogy environment May 12)

— EarthquakeNepal-MoHA (@NEoCOfficial)

The Nepalese Ministry of Home Affairs did not elaborate on the condition of the aircraft or its crew, saying only in the tweet that foggy conditions had hampered the search efforts.

A U.S. military helicopter with six Marines and two Nepalese service members went missing Tuesday.

The status of the eight people on board is unknown, according to a U.S. Department of Defense statement. The UH-1Y Huey helicopter had been delivering humanitarian aid as well as evacuating people with injuries to Kathmandu.

It was last seen near Charikot in Nepal, officials said. Nepalese military forces near there have been searching for the helicopter, and aerial search crews, including from the U.S. military, will resume at daylight on Wednesday .

The helicopter was one of two Hueys working in the area, a USAID spokesperson told ABC News.

View from a @USMC UH-1 helicopter over Charikot, Nepal, during a mission to survey the impact of the #NepalEarthquake

— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense)

I've counted at least 10 aftershocks since the big quake this afternoon. Sitting at the airport waiting to board, hoping takeoff happens.

— Anup Kaphle (@AnupKaphle)

Tuesday’s 7.3-magnitude quake also brought death and destruction to neighboring India.


In northern India, 17 people were reported dead after Tuesday’s quake — 16 in Bihar state and one in Uttar Pradesh — while 39 others were injured, according to the Times of India.

On Tuesday, Bihar state government officials shut down schools, which were scheduled to resume classes on May 16.

Schools were also evacuated in New Delhi after tremors were felt there. Students were asked to leave their classrooms and gather on the playground, reported the Times of India.

Tremors were also felt across parts of the Madhya Pradesh region, but there were no casualties reported there.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed authorities to be on alert for rescue and relief operations.

The External Affairs Ministry has set up control rooms in New Delhi, as well as in Nepal, to coordinate those involved in rescue and relief operations.

An External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday that all Indian Embassy personnel in Kathmandu escaped the country’s latest quake unhurt, The Hindu reported.

“Our Embassy in Kathmandu and all staff members are reported to be safe,” they said.

Instagram users around Kathmandu have been sharing clips of the aftermath of Tuesday’s earthquake. Parakramrana posted this video of the ground shaking towards the end of the tremor: / Via

Pavel_udas uploaded this footage of the scenes of post-quake panic around Kathmandu’s New Road Gate:

Kenn_veradio posted this video of tents being set up along the roadside:

Meanwhile, nur_sherpa was able to film one of the aftershocks.

An Oxfam spokesperson told BuzzFeed News via email on Tuesday that aid workers were still trying to assess the damage and number of casualties caused by the latest quake.

Ranup Shrestha / AP

Oxfam has teams based both in the capital Kathmandu and in the Gorkha district— the epicenter of the massive 7.8-magnitude quake, which struck the country on April 25, killing over 8,000 people.

“Gorkha team says there has been some damage and some injuries but don’t know complete details yet,” Gunjan Jain from Oxfam India said via email. “Oxfam teams in both areas are accounted for. A photographer in Barpak currently says that he was standing on someone’s roof when he felt the tremors but doesn’t see any visible damage as yet.”

Last week, Nepal’s prime minister said in an address to parliament that the country would be totally rebuilt within two years and that the government would provide loans of up to $25,000 for the rebuilding of private homes.

But speaking to BuzzFeed News on the phone from India, Deputy Chief of Mission at Nepal’s Embassy in New Delhi Krishna Prassad said that if these quakes and aftershocks keep on happening, the rebuilding process will be made “much more difficult.”

This is a developing story. Please check back here and at BuzzFeed News on Twitter for updates.

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