Indonesia earthquake and tsunami

On the 28th September 2018, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck off the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The earthquake triggered a tsunami warning, which was lifted soon after. However, not long after this, a tsunami hit the coast around the city of Palu, wiping out buildings, killing hundreds of people.

Click here or in the box below to follow the event as it unfolded

Video reports:

Live updates provided on Guardian website while the event unfolded.

Drone footage shows extent of damage in Palu:



Iran-Iraq earthquake

On Sunday 12th November 2017, a major 7.3 magnitude quake hit Iraq at 9:18 p.m. (Local time), The quake struck near the north-eastern border with Iran.


Iran quake map
Map via CNN

Mexico earthquake

On the 21st September 2017, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck 71 miles from Mexico City. The quake struck at 1:14 p.m. local time.

Source: BBC News
stream_img itv mexico
Source: PA

The quake came just hours after the annual earthquake drill in Mexico City, marking the anniversary of the magnitude 8 earthquake which struck the city 32 years ago, killing 9,500 people.

1985 Mexico City earthquake documentary

Why is Mexico so prone to earthquakes?

Mexico is prone to major earthquakes because it is one of the earth’s subduction zones. The Cocos plate is forcing its way beneath the North American plate, which increases the risk of major earthquakes.


Mexico has a long history of destructive earthquakes. It is one of the world’s most seismically active regions.

The mayor of Mexico City reported that buildings in at least 44 locations had collapsed or been severely damaged , including supermarkets and blocks of flats. As a result of gas pipes rupturing, fires were also reported across the city.

_97940091_mexico_shake_intensity_976_v5 bbc map
Source: BBC News

Among the casualties were at least 21 children who died when their primary school collapsed, trapping them inside.

stream_img rubble itv
Source: PA

Enrique Rebsamen school before the quake

mexico school before
Source: Google Street View

Enrique Rebsamen school after the quake

mexico-earthquake school

Are Mexico’s two September earthquakes connected? Find out more here.

Why did some buildings collapse, whilst others remained intact? Find out here

Capital built on ancient lake bed, amplifying the shaking, seismologists say. Read more here


The search for survivors continues as the death tolls rises 3 days after quake

Download note-taking template here:

Mexico earthquake report

Additional resources and sources


Nepal earthquake 2015

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 struck Nepal on Saturday 25th April 2015 at 11.41 am (local time), the worst in 81 years. A state of emergency was declared as over 7,000 fatalities were reported by the following Saturday. The epicentre of the earthquake was 2km below the ground. As a result of the shallow nature of the earthquake, the impacts have been devastating, toppling buildings, opening gaping cracks in roads and sending people rushing into the open as aftershocks rattled their damaged homes.

Where do major earthquakes happen and why? view here

Source - BBC News
Source – BBC News
Seismologists have expected a major earthquake in western Nepal, where pressure has been building from the grinding between tectonic plates — the northern Eurasia plate and the up-thrusting Indian plate.

The quake caused dozens of buildings in Kathmandu to collapse, including the historic Dharahara Tower. The city’s main hospital was overwhelmed by casualties and residents faced a nights on the streets with nowhere to go. Most of the Nepalese fatalities were from the Kathmandu Valley.

The earthquake caused avalanches on Mount Everest. An Indian army mountaineering team has found 18 bodies on Mount Everest.

The avalanche had buried part of the base camp and two tents had been filled with casualties.

Ministry officials estimated that at least 1,000 climbers, including about 400 foreigners, had been at base camp or on Everest when the earthquake struck.

At least 34 deaths occurred in northern India. Buildings swayed in Tibet and Bangladesh.

View a series of before and after slider images here

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. As a result, it is not best placed to deal with such a major natural disaster GNP per capita of Nepal is $730 (2013), whereas the GNP per capital of the UK is $41,680 (2013).

Political instability does little to boost Nepal’s resilience. “This earthquake is the nightmare scenario. The country has … suffered terrible conflicts, poor governance, and heart-wrenching poverty, all of which created and perpetuated the vulnerability which has been devastatingly exposed.” (Ian Kelman of the UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction).

Why is Nepal vulnerable to earthquakes?

ANIMATION – Plate tectonics. The Himalayas

The government had made some improvements in making some buildings more robust and reinforcing vulnerable ones, but many larger buildings, such as hospitals and older homes, remained extremely vulnerable. In addition, rapid urbanisation in cities like Kathmandu has meant that many homes have been built at a high density.

However, it appears that newer buildings fared better and withstood the quake, whereas the older buildings were worse affected. On the positive side, the earthquake struck on a Saturday, when schools were not in session, which may have reduced the death toll.

VIDEO – What caused the earthquake?

Meanwhile a powerful aftershock was felt on Sunday in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, and more avalanches were reported near Everest.

The 6.7 magnitude tremor, centred 60km (40 miles) east of Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, sent people running in panic for open ground in the city.

VIDEO – Drone footage shows extent of damage

VIDEO – More drone footage was filmed in the Sindhupalchok district, 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Kathmandu, near the epicentre of the earthquake

The problems were compounded by erratic internet and mobile phone communications. Many roads were blocked by rubble, there were landslides as well. As a result, getting aid to places that needed it was more difficult.

VIDEO – Nepal declares state of emergency

Offers of aid: 

  • The US sent a disaster response team and released an initial $1m (£0.7m) according to the US aid agency USAid
  • India sent several aircraft, carrying medical supplies and a mobile hospital, as well as a 40-strong disaster response team, including rescuers with dogs 
  • The UK is sent an eight-strong team of humanitarian experts 
  • Pakistan is sent four C-130 aircraft carrying a 30-bed field hospital and army doctors and specialists; urban search-and-rescue teams equipped with radars and sniffer dogs; and food items, including 2,000 meals, 200 tents and 600 blankets
  • Norway promised 30 million krone (£2.5m; $3.9m) in humanitarian assistance
  • Germany, Spain, France, Israel and the European Union also pledged to send aid

How inflatable hospitals are saving lives in Nepal



    More details on the earthquake:

    What are the challenges of disaster relief? Read about them here

    VIDEO – Was Nepal prepared for a major earthquake?

    Article – A disaster that shows quakes don’t kill people, buildings do

    Five facts that explain Nepal’s devastating earthquake here.

    VIDEO – Nepal Sherpas worry about their livelihoods as tourist season is cancelled

    View INTERACTIVE MAP showing areas and population likely to be affected by future earthquakes in Nepal.

    After four days, frustration evident in Nepal over pace of response to the disaster. Read and watch video report here

    How crisis mapping is helping the relief effort.

    After several weeks, attention turned to the longer term impacts, as questions were asked as to whether the economy of Nepal can recover from this major event. Read here

    Images before and after – ArcGIS story maps show how things have changed.

    Additional resources:

    CLICK HERE to view You Tube video playlist of reports from Nepal.

    Visit the BBC News NEPAL EARTHQUAKE – SPECIAL REPORT page for more in depth coverage.

    Sources and more information: BBC News, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, New York Times, World Bank, Reuters, ITV news, Channel 4 News

    More info here: