Sunday, 26 April 2015

Google launches ‘Person Finder’ after devastating earthquake hits Nepal

Google India has launched its ‘Person Finder’ instance to help track missing persons after a massive 7.9 earthquake hit Nepal on Saturday.

Google’s Person Finder is a free tool that helps friends and family members search for missing persons after a calamity. People can request and provide information about missing persons on the site.

Google Person Finder has been assisting the world in face of calamities since 2010 Haiti earthquake and has helped numerous people to reconnect with their loved ones after disasters. It was also launched in India after the devastating 2013 Uttarakhand floods.

Search is also available through SMS in India and the US. Users just have to text “search ” to +91-9773300000 in India or +1-650-800-3978 in the US.

All data which is part of the Google Person Finder is public and anyone can search for it. Press, NGO’s etc can all add to the database and there’s also a Person Finder API to get updates on the same.

Sunday 26 April 2015

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Rescue efforts intensify in Nepal

A 6.7 magnitude aftershock has struck Nepal amid a desperate search for people trapped by the earthquake, which has killed more than 2,000 people.

The aftershock, felt as far away as New Delhi, sent people in Nepal's devastated capital running on to the street once again, witnesses reported.

"Massive aftershock. A wall of a old house next to mine has collapsed now. Kathmandu is in shock again. People on streets," one Kathmandu resident tweeted.

It hit as teams from all over the world headed to Nepal to search for survivors and provide food and shelter to people left homeless by Saturday's 7.9 magnitude quake.

Indian air force planes were among the first to arrive, landing on Sunday with 43 tons of aid, including tents and food, and nearly 200 rescuers.

UK teams set to join the relief effort include 14 volunteers from from UK charity Search and Rescue Assistance in Disasters.

They are heading to Kathmandu with 1.5 tons of specialist equipment to rescue people from collapsed buildings. The quake, which hit on Saturday, flattened houses and temples and triggered an avalanche on Everest which killed 17 – the worst ever loss of life on the mountain.

Police in the capital Kathmandu say bodies are still arriving at one hospital in the city.

Officer Sudan Shreshtha told reporters his team had brought in 166 corpses overnight.

Tens of thousands of terrified Kathmandu residents also spent the night outside in freezing temperatures fearing another major tremor.

Officials fear the death toll could rise as the desperate search for survivors continues. Many countries and international charities have offered aid to Nepal to deal with the disaster.

The shallow 7.8 quake struck at midday (local time) on Saturday in central Nepal, about 81 kilometres northwest of the capital Kathmandu. It caused massive damage in the Kathmandu Valley.

Victims have also been reported in India, Bangladesh, Tibet and on Mt Everest.

Australian authorities are trying to contact hundreds of their people, with about 350 still not confirmed as safe. Desperate rescue efforts underway.

The death toll could rise, as the situation is unclear in remote areas which remain cut off or hard to access. Many mountain roads are cracked or blocked by landslides.

Scores of bodies have been ferried to hospitals in the capital Kathmandu, many of which are struggling to cope with the number of injured.

More than 700 have died in the capital alone.

Medics are expecting a fresh influx of patients on Sunday as supplies run low. Rescuers in places used their bare hands to dig for survivors still buried underneath piles of rubble and debris overnight on Saturday.

Army officer Santosh Nepal told the Reuters news agency that he and his soldiers had to dig a passage into a collapsed three-storey residential building in Kathmandu using pickaxes because bulldozers could not get through the ancient city's narrow streets.

"We believe there are still people trapped inside," he told Reuters. Many historic buildings in the capital, including the Darahara Tower, have been destroyed.

Bodies recovered after avalanche

Seventeen bodies have been recovered after an avalanche triggered by the earthquake buried part of Mt Everest's Base Camp sparking fears for hundreds of climbers on the mountain.

Rescue team personnel carry an injured person towards a waiting rescue helicopter at Everest Base Camp. The Mountaineering Association said it was the worst disaster ever on the mountain.

It said a further 61 people were injured and the first rescue helicopters had only now been able to get in to fly them to a medical centre.

There are 100 climbers at Everest Camps 1 and 2 above base camp and all are safe, according to the Mountaineering Association.

But it said it will be difficult to evacuate them because the Icefall Route back to Everest Base Camp was damaged. It is the start of the main climbing season and officials estimate at least 1000 climbers including 400 foreigners were either at Base Camp or up the mountain when the quake struck.

Sunday 26 April 2015

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