herald

Saturday 1 October 2016

All Irish believed to be safe and well after quake that killed 5,000

Nepal

Paul Greenan who is on his way on his way back to Ireland from Nepal.
Paul Greenan who is on his way on his way back to Ireland from Nepal.
Trekkers and Nepali guides wait for a rescue helicopter beside a Help sign made from stones

All Irish people who were reported missing by the Red Cross following the killer earthquake in Nepal have now been accounted for.

Dubliner Paul Greenan, who cheated death when disaster struck, is expected to arrive home today from Kathmandu.

The 38-year-old from Shankill who runs a plant hire business had to be airlifted to Kathmandu but was only well enough to be medically evacuated from Nepal yesterday.

He was then flown by a Norwegian medical team to Baku, the Azerbaijan capital. A source said the Norwegian Air Corps is expected to transfer him to Dublin today.

Mr Greenan suffered extensive injuries in the quake, which killed at least 5,000 people, when he was caught in an avalanche on Mount Everest.

Describing the scene, he said a wall of snow and rock bombarded the base camp like "missiles" being thrown.

"It's not that we were buried in snow. By the time the avalanche hit us it had lost an awful lot of power so it was largely rocks being thrown at us like missiles," he said.

"I think half the base camp was decimated. There were people walking around dazed, like it was some sort of Doomsday thing, not knowing where they were."

The last person feared missing, Co Monaghan native Thomas Drum, made contact with his cousin David early yesterday.

David said he had been sleeping very little and was checking his emails at around 6.55am yesterday when he received a brief message from Thomas.

"He says things are crazy all around him but people are trying to get on with life as best they can and he is hoping to get out of the area on Friday," David told the Herald.

Although he has had no further correspondence with his cousin, David put it down to the huge demand for internet time as people queued at internet cafes to let their loved ones know they are alive and well.

ANXIOUS

Fionnuala Daffy, from Grallagh, Nenagh, who was also caught up in the earthquake is safe.

"Fionnuala left a message saying she was all right," her mother Sinead told the Tipperary Star newspaper.

"But I've been anxious ever since because it's rough over there. I've spoken to her as she managed to phone."

She added that the biggest problem facing people trapped in Nepal at the moment was the lack of electricity.

"It's serious to be without electricity as no water can be pumped into the tanks," she said.

"Water is precious. Without it you have big problems such as illness and poor sanitation. It also means that Fionnuala may not be contactable when the electricity is out."

The epicentre of Saturday's 7.8 magnitude quake was in the north of Gorkha district, and the fate of between 5,000 and 10,000 people living there is still unknown.

International relief workers and the Nepali government's efforts to provide aid to the area are still being severely hampered by landslides and electricity outages.

Hungry and angry Nepali villagers yesterday blocked trucks carrying supplies for earthquake victims, demanding that the government do more to help.

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