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How to Reduce Earthquake Deaths

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. We know how to reduce earthquake deaths. So why aren’t we doing it?

By Brad Plumer in Vox

2. Your next bus might be an Uber.

By Lisa Nisensen in Strong Towns

3. Here’s why a woman is twice as likely to die during childbirth here than in Saudi Arabia.

By Danielle Paquette in the Washington Post

4. You don’t own your medical data, but getting a peek could save your life.

By Niam Yaraghi and Joshua Bleiberg at Brookings

5. DARPA’s magic bullets change course to hit moving targets.

By Rich McCormick in the Verge

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

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TIME Nepal

See Satellite Images of Nepal Before and After the Earthquake

Photos show the destruction and the camps where survivors are sheltering

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that devastated Nepal on Sunday has altered the face of the country, as new satellite images show. The disaster has killed more than 4,600 people and leveled buildings—many of them historic—to rubble.

The Dharhara Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was toppled, leaving about 180 bodies in its ruins. Survivors have set up tents and other temporary structures in open areas of their towns and cities, away from the danger of more buildings falling in an aftershock, as they await aid. Meanwhile, villagers in remote areas of Nepal are cut off by landslides that prevent rescue crews from providing relief.

TIME Health Care

Medics Race Against Time to Save Nepal’s Quake Survivors

Nepalese soldiers carry a wounded man on a makeshift stretcher to an Indian Air Force helicopter as they evacuate victims of Saturday's earthquake from Trishuli Bazar to Kathmandu airport in Nepal on April 27, 2015.
Altaf Qadri—AP Nepalese soldiers carry a wounded man on a makeshift stretcher to an Indian Air Force helicopter as they evacuate victims of Saturday's earthquake from Trishuli Bazar to Kathmandu airport in Nepal on April 27, 2015.

Short-term and long-term medical risks are numerous

Medical emergency responders are continuing to rush into Nepal as the country recovers from the immense earthquake that took thousands of lives. While the final death toll remains unknown—the Nepali Prime Minister said today some 10,000 may have died—medical aid groups say the timeframe is tight to save lives.

“There’s a very narrow window of opportunity for people suffering from major traumatic injuries to receive the care they need. It’s vital that people start to receive that kind of care within the first 10 to 14 days of the emergency,” says Paul Garwood, a communications officer at the World Health Organization. “The general rule is that for every one person killed in a disaster like this, some three people are suffering from major trauma injuries.” As time goes on, the risk they die from their injuries increases, he says.

Medical responders tell TIME that survivors’ injuries range from broken bones to head trauma to spinal injuries, and they require intensive and rapid medical treatment and many will require surgical interventions. “These are the major injuries we are seeing now and expect to be seeing in the thousands,” says Garwood.

Responders are also trying to get care to people in the rural affected areas that are still isolated. “We are extremely concerned about people in villages that we can’t reach. The people can’t get out by their own means,” says Patrick Fuller an International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) spokesman currently in Kathmandu. “There are thousands of people who have lost everything.”

At the same time, other health challenges don’t go away just because there’s been a major earthquake. Doctors need to maintain routine medical care for people with preexisting conditions or pregnant mothers who may be giving birth. The WHO says it’s working to ensure the right quantities of medicine are available to treat people who require care for diabetes, cancer and heart disease, for example.

Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO regional director for South-East Asia says her teams are trying to anticipate public health needs before they present themselves. She has team members preparing for the possibility of a measles outbreak and an increased need for mental health care among survivors. “Even now I find that people are traumatized,” she says. “At the moment the devastation is just so much.”

Teams from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have has arrived in Nepal and are currently assessing medical needs and sending surgical teams throughout the affected areas. An 11-member surgical team was sent to Kathmandu with a “rapid intervention surgical kit,” allowing the responders to start performing operations within 72 hours after the earthquake.

In a natural disaster, there’s additional environmental factors that can jeopardize human recovery. Supply systems like roads can become disrupted and access to food can become an issue. Loss of water and sanitation systems can create risks for communicable diseases. Fuller says many shops and markets are closed and food is becoming quite scarce. “In the aftermath of the earthquake, there is the danger of epidemics breaking out, including cholera, malaria and typhoid fever. Landslides and heavy rains pose a risk to people forced to sleep out in the open,” MSF said in a statement.

“We understand that monsoonal rain has come early in Nepal, so excess amounts of water and displaced populations accentuate the risk of communicable disease outbreaks,” added Garwood. The WHO says its sending medicines to deal with diarrheal disease outbreaks. The hope is that if such infectious disease arise, as they have in past emergencies, they can be contained.

“The greatest concern is speed,” says IFRC’s Fuller. “We have to reach them as quickly as possible.”

TIME Nepal

Six More Ways to Give to Nepal Earthquake Relief

Financial support is essential to support the rebuilding process

As international aid to support victims of the Nepal earthquake ramps up, individual financial support will also be essential as the landlocked nation’s grapples with the natural disaster that has claimed more than 4,400 lives and devastated infrastructure.

On top of the six charities TIME profiled Monday, dozens of relief agencies are supporting recovery efforts. Here are six more ways to support.

Facebook

The social media giant has set up a donation platform that enables users to donate to the International Medical Corps. 100% of the proceeds will help provide first-response care and hygiene kits to survivors. Facebook has also pledged $2 million to the organization’s relief efforts. Also, as Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform, it makes it easier to share your munificence and motivate friends to donate as well.

Lutheran World Relief

The U.N.-affiliated organization immediately shipped nearly 10,000 quilts and 100 personal water filtration mechanisms to Nepal. They are working in close coordination with a local disaster government agency called the Nepali District Disaster Relief Committee.

“This is still a scary situation,” said Narayan Gyawali, a local staff member currently in Nepal in a press release.

To donate to the Lutheran World Relief organization, click here. If you prefer to send physical checks, the Lutheran World Relief is especially well organized.

AmeriCares

AmeriCares has an emergency response office in Mumbai, India and have sent a team to the Nepal disaster zone. On its website, AmeriCares says, “for every $1 donated AmeriCares has provided $20 in aid.” They are also preparing medical supplies and will distribute tetanus and measles vaccinations because many residents are now living in close proximity with one another.

Click here to make a donation.

Islamic Relief USA

Based in Virginia and operating for nearly 25 years, Islamic Relief USA has a presence in more than 35 countries across the world. They are launching an appeal to raise $100,000 dollars for relief efforts in Nepal. “We are concerned about the victims of this tragedy and are sending our emergency response teams from different countries to respond,” said CEO Anwar Khan in a press release.

The agency also advocates for active participation in relief efforts, which they suggest can be done by organizing community fundraisers.

To help Islamic Relief USA reach its target goal, click here.

Doctors Without Borders

MSF is sent eight teams to Nepal to assist those in need, including a highly-skilled surgical team that will set up mobile clinics in the hopes of reaching people in remote areas. They are also contributing emergency medical supplies and a non-medical team in Kathmandu.

To donate click here.

Charity: Water

The people of Nepal will need significant help getting access to clean water as they recover from the earthquake. Charity: Water is in an excellent position to do just that. This smaller organization is networked into the country from previous clean water projects, and has begun a relief campaign in which 100% of proceeds go to Nepal’s earthquake disaster relief, with the immediate focus being to raise money for emergency supplies.

Click here to offer support.

TIME Nepal

Nepal’s Economy Will Take Years to Recover From the Deadly Earthquake

Tourism and rural infrastructure have taken a big hit

Even as the death toll from the Nepal earthquake nears 5,000 — and it looks set to rise much further if reports trickling in from devastated rural areas are anything to go by — experts are warning that the economic aftershocks will be felt for years after the last victims have been buried and rubble cleared.

Nepal is one of Asia’s poorest nations with unemployment over 40% and per capita GDP of just $1,000. Some 59 out of 75 districts have been affected by Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude quake — 11 of them severely. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that reconstruction costs could exceed $10 billion, or half of national GDP.

“With housing construction standards in Nepal being extremely low due to the poverty of the general population, the impact of the earthquake has been devastating,” says Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist for IHS analysis group.

The tourism sector, accounting for around 10% of GDP and a similar percentage of all jobs, looks gutted in the short-term.

Nepal boasts eight of the ten highest mountains in the world, with spectacular scenery to match. The fact that it only receives around 600,000 visitors each year makes hospitality a key area of potential growth.

Yet most major hotels have now been shuttered for at least a fortnight while structural assessments are completed, and Kathmandu airport has been thronged by shell-shocked vacationers clamoring to escape the bedlam. Airplanes have been held on the tarmac for hours as the besieged terminal struggles to cope with the increased traffic alongside vital aid deliveries.

Compounding matters, four of this mountain nation’s seven UNESCO World Heritage sites — such as the 100-foot Dharahara Tower in the capital — have been severely damaged. At least 18 climbers at the Everest Base Camp died during an avalanche, while the popular hiking hamlet of Langtang has likely been wiped out by a landslide, according to the New York Times.

“Rebuilding efforts and hopefully recovery can be quick,” Kenichi Yokoyama, Nepal director for the Asian Development Bank, tells TIME. But they will also be uneven.

The service sector and manufacturing — Nepal boasts industrial plants for many Asian and international firms, including Coca-Cola — face disruption, as factories have been evacuated indefinitely until structural reports can be compiled. Damage to infrastructure in rural areas could also be significant.

MORE: Six Ways you Can Give to Nepal Earthquake Relief

On the other hand, the farming sector appears to have escaped relatively unscathed. Agriculture remains Nepal’s principal economic activity, employing 80% of the population and providing a third of GDP.

“Unless land is affected by landslides, or farmers are injured, the agriculture sector may not necessarily suffer major damage,” explains Yokoyama.

Then there is hydropower — the other great hope for Nepal besides tourism. The nation has about 6,000 rivers stretching some 28,000 miles, ranking the nation the second richest globally for inland water resources.

Hydropower is a major source of investment from energy-hungry neighboring superpowers India and China. Nepal is estimated to boast hydropower potential of 80,000MW — enough to power the whole of Germany — but only around 700MW has so far been exploited.

Due to poor infrastructure and extreme conditions, and with construction impossible during most ferocious weather, such schemes are exorbitantly expensive; a new India-backed 900-megawatt dam on the upper Karnali River is slated to cost $1.4 billion.

Nevertheless, Yokoyama says the latest quake is unlikely to affect investor confidence in this sector, especially as no major damage has been reported in existing hydropower stations.

“Everybody would know that Nepal has a high earthquake risk and normally these [hydropower projects] are built to take into account geological and earthquake risks,” he says.

“Hydropower projects are generally ‘over-engineered’ so as to have a significant margin of safety that takes into account regional conditions,” confirms Prof. Tony Lucey, a hydropower expert at Curtin University’s department of engineering in Perth, Australia.

Nepal’s growth was already much slower than most of its South Asian neighbors, and the ABD forecast for this year has been dropped from 4.6% to around 4.2% in light of the quake, says Yokoyama. However, from next year and beyond, reconstruction activity could support faster GDP growth, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. The remittances sent by Nepalis working overseas, which make up about a third of GDP, will also become even more vital.

At the same time, a fraught political scene adds unpredictability to the equation. Nepal has not had a fully functioning government since the monarchy was abolished in 2008, with a disparate hodgepodge of bickering Maoist and communist splinter groups creating political inertia. Nepal is also ranked 126 out of 175 nations for corruption by Transparency International. Both of these are going to have to change if Nepalis are to truly rise from the rubble.

TIME Nepal

Why Nepal Wasn’t Ready for the Earthquake

The death toll has been amplified by a paralyzed political system

The shock of the past few days in Nepal gave way to despair, frustration and a few larger questions on Tuesday, as the death toll from the devastating earthquake that wracked the small Himalayan nation over the weekend rose above 4,000 — a number that will almost certainly rise once international rescue teams reach rubble-filled outlying areas surrounding the capital, Kathmandu.

The massive quake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale and followed by three days of panic-inducing aftershocks, has left the country — already one of the world’s poorest and least developed — reeling and utterly helpless.

But while the earthquake is tragic, seismologists said it didn’t come as a surprise. Nepal’s location on a fault line and a lack of emergency resources made a devastating earthquake inevitable, heightening a sense that more should have been done to make typically ramshackle local buildings more resilient, and so saving countless lives.

“It was no surprise whatsoever. This is the earthquake we’ve been waiting for,” Susan Hough, a seismologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, tells TIME. “People have been talking about a magnitude 8-ish earthquake hitting Nepal pretty much exactly like this one did. What surprises me is how many buildings are still standing.”

Nepal, nestled in the midst of the Himalayas and on a fault line between the Eurasian and South Asian tectonic plates, has long been on experts’ radar as a high-risk region that lacks the wherewithal to protect its 30 million people.

The country has a per capita GDP under $1,000, and homeowners often construct their own buildings without any oversight from trained engineers. Government officials imposed a new building code in 1994, six years after an earthquake there killed 700 people, but lack the resources, or will, to enforce it strictly. The government also attempted to implement a 1998 action plan formulated by disaster-management organizations GeoHazards International and the National Society for Earthquake Technology–Nepal, but was unable to adequately shore up its defenses.

“People have been trying for a long time to improve preparedness and resilience, but they’re resource-strapped,” Hough said.

MORE 6 Ways You Can Give to Nepal Earthquake Relief

The rest of the world has jumped to Nepal’s aid in the quake’s aftermath, with a host of countries ranging from neighbors like India and China to distant nations like the U.S. and even Israel joining the landlocked Himalayan nation’s own people in providing relief-and-rescue assistance. However, the continuing efforts have enforced a bitter sense of how powerless the Nepali government is to care for its own people when faced with calamity.

“Our government is not strong enough to handle this,” said Kshitiz Nyaupane, a Kathmandu local in his mid-20s. “We must take care of it ourselves.”

Nyaupane’s statement echoes the frustration Nepal’s people feel at a political system wracked by decades of indecision, internal conflict and instability.

A decade-long civil war sparked off by a Maoist rebellion ended in 2006 after claiming nearly 20,000 lives, and the monarchy that had ruled Nepal since the 1700s was abolished in favor of parliamentary democracy. Competing and highly divisive factions of Nepali politics have been unable to come to an agreement on a constitution since then, however, and issues like disaster preparedness have taken a backseat amid an impasse that has lasted nearly a decade.

“We have had no political stability, nine prime ministers in eight years, and we don’t have a constitution,” Nishchal N. Pandey, director of the Kathmandu-based Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS), tells TIME. “The people are very, very frustrated” at Nepal’s political and economic paralysis that could well be exacerbated by this disaster, Pandey said.

“The government cannot look after everyone,” said Tika Regmi, executive director of local trekking company Adventure Mountain Explore Treks & Expedition. “It’s the public like us who has to be careful.”

Although all of Regmi’s tour groups bound for the base camp of Mount Everest have fortunately been accounted for, he said not a single member of the government, police or army had come to his village of Budhanilkantha (about 11 km from Kathmandu) as of Monday afternoon. “Some people don’t even have a tent, mattress, blankets or food,” he said. “I don’t know if the government is looking, they may come to us tomorrow or maybe not.” Regmi was unreachable on Tuesday.

Some believe the government’s efforts of the 1990s may have mitigated the extent of the devastation to some degree — experts had previously predicted that an 8.0-magnitude quake in Kathmandu could kill between 40,000 and 250,000 people, according to University of Colorado professor and South Asian earthquake expert Roger Bilham.

But Pandey says there are certain facts and figures that are inexcusable. “Can you imagine that the Nepal army has just one Mi-7 helicopter?” he says. “Just one, for a force of 90,000. This is a grave tragedy.”

The CSAS head hopes that the earthquake, as tragic as it is, will be the jolt Nepal’s political class needs to get its act together. A fully functioning government would go some way to ensure the next quake, which is surely coming, does not wreak such a hefty toll. “So many people have died, our history is completely gone, and if not now, then when will these politicians come together?”

— With reporting by Justin Worland / New York

Read next: Where Will the Next Big Earthquake Hit?

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Nepal

International Aid to Nepal Ramps Up

Supplies, medics, rescue teams and millions of dollars are pouring in

As the death toll from Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake surpasses 4,350, international aid agencies and foreign governments are scrambling to deliver much-needed financial assistance and supplies to Nepal.

Since Saturday, supplies, search-and-rescue and medical teams have been sent from around the world to Nepal’s only international airport, located in the capital, Kathmandu.

Here are some of those efforts:

The U.S. announced Monday it would donate an additional $9 million in assistance for Nepal, bringing the total to $10 million through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In addition, search-and-rescue teams have been dispatched to Nepal as part of USAID’s disaster-assistance response team and 45 tons of supplies have been dispatched.

“This emergency assistance builds on our years of support for risk-reduction partnerships in Nepal,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, director of USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.

India has been heavily involved in the aid operation to Nepal since Saturday, sending 1,000 National Disaster Response Force personnel to help with search-and-rescue efforts. In addition, India has deployed 13 aircraft, six Mi-17 helicopters and two Advanced Light Helicopters. On Sunday, 10 tons of blankets, 50 tons of water, 22 tons of food items and 2 tons of medicine were dispatched to Kathmandu. As well as aid, India has sent three army field hospitals, an engineering task force and medical units of civilian doctors, according to the Indian Express.

The U.K. is giving $7.6 million in aid, of which slightly more than half will address immediate needs in Nepal, with the rest to be donated to the Red Cross, which is helping with rescue and recovery efforts in Nepal. An eight-member team of disaster-response specialists has been working in Nepal since Sunday. Experts from a number of U.K.-based charities including the British Red Cross and Oxfam are operational in Nepal. A Royal Air Force plane carrying 1,100 shelter kits and more than 1,700 solar lanterns departed for Nepal on Monday.

“I have now activated the Rapid Response Facility. This means we can fast-track funding to aid workers on the ground so they can provide desperately needed supplies including clean water, shelter, household items and blankets,” International Development Secretary Justine Greening said in a statement on Sunday.

China sent a 62-member search-and-rescue team on Sunday and has promised $3.3 million in aid, including emergency shelters, clothing, blankets and power generators.

Israel has sent a 260-member team to Nepal to assist with rescue and relief operations along with 95 tons of aid and medical supplies. On Monday, a plane carrying a medical team of 200 doctors, nurses, paramedics, rescue teams and other personnel landed in Kathmandu and began to set up field hospitals.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop pledged Sunday $3.9 million in assistance that will be split between Australian NGOs, supporting U.N. partners and the Australian Red Cross.

Malaysia said Sunday it will deploy 30 members from the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) and is sending 20 doctors to help with operations on the ground in Nepal.

Pakistan deployed four Pakistan Air Force aircraft carrying rescue and relief assistance, including a 30-bed hospital and a medical team of doctors and paramedics, to Nepal on Sunday.

The E.U. is making available $3 million in its response to the Nepal earthquake. This is in addition to assistance from member states and the deployment of the European Commission’s humanitarian aid and civil-protection experts to the worst-affected areas. Emergency aid includes clean water, medicine, emergency shelter and telecommunications.

“What is needed most are medical teams and relief supplies. I call on all E.U. member states to join the coordinated European response,” E.U. Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said in a statement on Sunday.

The U.N. has released $15 million from its central emergency-response fund for earthquake victims in Nepal. Valerie Amos, the under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, said U.N. agencies were coordinating international efforts and were working with partners in Nepal, including the government, to get aid to those affected.

The World Food Programme is also providing food and supplies as well as logistical support on the ground, and UNICEF has mobilized two cargo flights carrying 120 tons of humanitarian aid, including medical supplies, tents and blankets.

Other countries involved in donating financial aid or sending in personnel to help with rescue and relief operations include Canada, Bhutan, France, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

But with so many cargo and civilian planes flying in to help, Kathmandu’s tiny airport is struggling to cope under the strain. Agencies warn that if you want to help, donate money not stuff and avoid hopping on a plane to Nepal to help with relief efforts in person.

“More than your plane ticket or your collection of old T-shirts, what is most needed in Nepal right now is money,” writes Claire Bennett in the Guardian.

Read this next: 6 Ways You Can Give to Nepal Earthquake Relief

TIME Nepal Earthquake

See India’s Rescue Operations in Quake-Devastated Nepal

India has sent humanitarian relief to the remote villages most affected by Nepal's deadly earthquake

In remote mountain villages near the epicenter of Saturday’s massive earthquake in Nepal, receiving outside help has become a matter of life or death.

The Himalayan nation is reeling from the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck 50 miles outside the capital, Kathmandu, and as of Monday afternoon had left at least 4,000 people dead. The country’s worst quake in 81 years has severely damaged Nepal’s already fragile infrastructure and aftershocks sent thousands into the streets.

Countries around the world have pledged millions in assistance and some are already on the ground helping with rescue efforts and dispersal of aid. Altaf Qadri, an Associated Press photographer, is shadowing India’s Air Force as it brings relief to survivors.

Qadri was supposed to cover the arrival of evacuated Indian nationals by the Air Force in New Delhi, but while on base, he met with other journalists who were lobbying officials to fly them into Nepal. With all commercial flights from New Delhi to Kathmandu canceled, he said, there was no way to fly there without their help.

He called his editors, who told him to board an Antonov An-32 military transport aircraft that was carrying supplies and stretchers to Kathmandu via Allahabad, in India’s northeast. After a failed attempt on Sunday, they landed in Nepal on Monday morning.

The photographer was then handed authorization to follow the relief mission aboard a Mil Mi-17 helicopter to Trishuli Bazar, a town that is two hours north of Kathmandu by road. “A few small landslides have blocked the road leading to this place,” he tells TIME. “Many of the houses in the hills [have] collapsed, and the injured are in a bad situation.”

The flight time was about half an hour. “As soon as we approached the village to land, people started gathering around the helicopter,” he says. “There were local volunteers in green T-shirts also in the crowd, which made a ring around helicopter to stop people [from coming] near the rotors.”

The Indian soldiers, joined by Nepalese troops, unloaded rice bags and other supplies before evacuating nine injured survivors to Kathmandu, where he captured the heart-wrenching image of a Nepalese mother trying to catch up with an Indian soldier. “[He] was rushing a wounded and unconscious child to a waiting ambulance at the Kathmandu airport,” Qadir says.

It’s a scene that is likely to unfold over and over again as the country digs out.

Mikko Takkunen, who edited this photo essay, is an Associate Photo Editor at TIME. Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.

Read next: How Facebook Is Helping Emergency Responders in Nepal

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TIME Behind the Photos

Life and Death in One Picture After Quake Hits Nepal

Nepalese rescue personnel help a trapped earthquake survivor, center right, as his friend lies dead next to him in Swyambhu, in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015.
Prakash Mathema—AFP/Getty Images Nepalese rescue personnel help a trapped earthquake survivor, center right, as his friend lies dead next to him in Swayambhu, in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015.

One man is freed after 18 hours of being trapped next to a friend who was killed

The house built atop a hill in Swyambhu, a neighborhood west of Kathmandu’s city center, stood at three levels before Saturday. But it couldn’t resist the wrath of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck outside of Nepal’s capital, killing more than 4,000 people and becoming the country’s worst quake in more than 80 years.

The earthquake flattened parts of the house, trapping two men side-by-side—one dead, the other alive—for more than 18 hours. Prakash Mathema, an Agence France-Presse photographer based in Kathmandu, was documenting the recovery efforts across the ravaged city when he heard that a rescue team had found the men.

“The top floor of the house had collapsed,” he told TIME on Sunday. “And the men were trapped by this beam.”

The house had been cordoned off, but Mathema requested access, aware of the risks. He entered by a window and shadowed rescuers as they worked to free the man who survived, identified as Saroj Shrestha. “It lasted seven to eight minutes,” he said.

Shrestha is now in a hospital with a broken leg, Mathema said. “I want to visit him,” he added, “but right now I have to document the rescue operations. I think it’s important [to show] what’s happening, what’s going on. There are a lot of places [in Kathmandu] where this has happened—people trapped in their houses. No one knows how many people are out there, [still alive] after 18 hours. The manpower is limited.”

Read next: The Story Behind the Photos of Nepal’s Devastating Earthquake

TIME Nepal

See Photos From a Survivor of the Mount Everest Avalanche

At least 17 people were killed Saturday after an earthquake outside Kathmandu triggered the avalanche

An initial wave of survivors from Mount Everest arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday, one day after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck outside Nepal’s capital city and triggered an avalanche that killed at least 17 people and injured dozens more, the Associated Press reports.

AFP photographer Roberto Schmidt was at Everest Base Camp on Saturday when the avalanche flattened parts of it. After capturing the snow and debris rushing down, he turned his camera to document the aftermath: mangled tents, rescuers helping the injured and the helicopters taking them off the mountain.

Read next: First Survivors of Everest Avalanche Reach Quake-Hit Kathmandu

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