Thursday 27 October 2016

101-year-old man pulled alive from rubble eight days after earthquake


RESCUERS in eartquake stricken Nepal miraculously found three survivors in a mountainous village, eight days after the devastating natural disaster hit.

A government official Surya Prasad Upadhaya says two men and a woman were pulled out yesterday from near Syauli village.

One of them was 101-year-old Funchu Tamang who was pulled from the rubble of his home in Nuwakot district around 80km northwest of the capital Kathmandu.

They have been taken to a nearby military hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, a Dublin photographer living in the Nepalese capital has relived the moment the devastating earthquake struck.


Niall Kavanagh, who is originally from Templeogue but who has been living in Katmandu for two years, said he was "well prepared".

"I came here to volunteer with an Irish charity called the Umbrella Foundation, who look after children.

"I spent the first six months putting together an earthquake survival plan for the organisation so it served me well."

Mr Kavanagh was outside in a farmers market when the earth began to shake beneath him.

He said his first instinct was to rush to the charity office to make sure they were okay.

"Thankfully they were all fine," he said "so I moved on and started helping other people near where I lived.

"They needed people to take charge so I stood up on the rubble and started instructing people on how to build a camp.

"I told them to grab blankets and food from their homes and to start making shelter before the rain and darkness set in."

In his haste to look after those around him Mr Kavanagh said it was three days before he made contact with his family back home.

"I'm embarrassed to say it took me that long but I was dead set on helping others.

"There was also a number of other factors like time zones. My two children live in Canada and my brothers and sisters are back home in Ireland so that was one obstacle.

"It was also really hard to get coverage but I eventually got a message out on Facebook that I was okay.

Meanwhile, runway damage has forced Nepalese authorities to close the main airport to large aircraft delivering aid to millions of people following the massive quake.

The death toll climbed to 7,057, including six foreigners and 45 found over the weekend on a popular trekking route, said government administrator Gautam Rimal.

The victims included a French national, an Indian, four other foreigners and Nepalese guides, hotel owners, workers and porters.

The main runway was temporarily closed to big planes because of damage. Despite the setback, the UN coordinator for Nepal, Jamie McGoldrick, said the bottlenecks in aid delivery were slowly disappearing.

He said the Nepalese government eased customs and other bureaucratic hurdles on humanitarian aid following complaints from the UN.

"The government has taken note of some of the concerns that we've expressed to them and they've addressed those both at customs and the actual handling," he said.

Airport congestion was only the latest complication in global efforts to aid people in the wake of the April 25 quake, the impoverished country's biggest and most destructive in eight decades.

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