Overall economic impact to Nepal will easily exceed $1 Billion dollars, and impacts in India may exceed $500 Million. Here’s what the model spread looks like. Best estimate is $1.8 Billion, with much of the uncertainty is due to construction quality. Some scary but plausible scenarios are in the $6 Billion range, but the majority of models place impacts around $2 Billion:
Update: To put this in to context, the GDP of Nepal is about 66 Billion, so this event will be about 2% of GDP. Recent “bad” natural disasters impacting the US like Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina were in the $50 to $80 Billion range, but that is only 0.4 or 0.5 % of the US GDP. This earthquake would be a $320 Billion disaster in the US – something we’ve never experienced.
Early death reports are in the 500 range, but I would expect the final numbers to be well into the thousands.
This is a very vulnerable area, where the Indian subcontinent is ramming into Asia and uplifting the Himalaya Mountains, and previous severe earthquakes near Kathmandu have been devastating.