herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Fears for missing Irish people in Nepal after massive earthquake

A total of 90 people born in either Ireland or the UK are believed to be missing after a powerful earthquake devastated Nepal and left thousands dead, the Red Cross has said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said they have put together an online list of everyone missing since the 7.9 magnitude earthquake, which has claimed more than 3,700 lives.

A total of eight Irish people have yet to make contact with home.

The Irish people who, so far, are unaccounted for are:

Ciaran Sands (55) from Dublin, Jacqueline Bushe (54) from Donegal, Madelana Ryan (48) from Dublin, Niall Kavanagh (54) from Dublin, Pat Loughran (66) from Dublin, Sam O’Neill (28), Sinead Nic Cionna (31) from Monaghan, and Thomas Drumm (55) from Monaghan.

Siobhan McKenna, originally from Monaghan and now living in New Zealand issues an appeal to help find her sister Sinead who was trekking in Nepal at the time of the quake.

READ MORE: Shocked families sleep in fear on streets as quake death toll passes 2,500

"She's very determined, she's a very motivated woman. She's around 5'7" or 5'8" with shoulder length brown hair and a very slight build," she told RTE Radio 1 this lunchtime.

"She does have a medical condition so there are quite a lot of scars on her legs that would make her quite identifiable.

"She has tattoos of doves on both feet.

"She is 31 years of age," Siobhan said.

Nepalese people stay outside in tents in Bhaktapur on the outskirts of Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. International aid groups and governments intensified efforts to get rescuers and supplies into earthquake-hit Nepal on April 26, but severed communications and landslides in the Himalayan nation posed formidable challenges to the relief effort.
Nepalese people stay outside in tents in Bhaktapur on the outskirts of Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. International aid groups and governments intensified efforts to get rescuers and supplies into earthquake-hit Nepal on April 26, but severed communications and landslides in the Himalayan nation posed formidable challenges to the relief effort.
People burn the bodies of earthquake victims at a mass cremation in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. Aid groups and governments worldwide intensified efforts April 26 to help earthquake-hit Nepal, but blocked roads, downed power lines and overcrowded hospitals posed formidable challenges in an already poor country
A relative of one of the victims of the earthquake that hit Nepal yesterday cries while identifying the body on April 26, 2015 in Bhaktapur, Nepal. A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday, and was followed by multiple aftershocks that triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest that buried mountain climbers in their base camps. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear debris and find survivors.
Nepalese residents mourn the death of a relative following an earthquake, at a mass cremation in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. Aid groups and governments worldwide intensified efforts April 26 to help earthquake-hit Nepal, but blocked roads, downed power lines and overcrowded hospitals posed formidable challenges in an already poor country
Nepalese novice Buddhist monks who live at the Tergar monastery in the Indian town of Bodhgaya on April 26, 2015 offer prayers for the victims of an earthquake in Nepal. Powerful aftershocks rocked Nepal April 26, panicking survivors of a quake that killed more than 2,300 and triggering fresh avalanches at Everest base camp, as rescuers dug through rubble in the devastated capital Kathmandu.
Rescue workers remove debris as they search for victims of earthquake in Bhaktapur near Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015.
Nepalese rescue personnel help a trapped earthquake survivor (C/R) as his friend lies dead next to him in Swyambhu, in Kathmandu on April 26, 2015. Rescuers in Nepal searched frantically for survivors of a quake that killed more than 2,000, digging through rubble in the devastated capital Kathmandu and airlifting victims of an avalanche at Everest base camp.

READ MORE: 'I covered my head and neck and waited' - Dublin aid worker Jack

Siobhan expressed her gratitude for the rescue efforts at home and abroad to help locate the remaining missing Irish people in Nepal.

The distressed family of Ciaran Sands, who live in the Dundalk area, confirmed that he was missing and no contact had been heard from him. They declined to comment today.

But the news was good on Darine Flanagan from Galway, who phoned her mother this morning using someone else’s phone to say she was alive and well.

READ MORE: 'I used my hands as claws to dig out of what could have been my grave'

"She had been attending some sort of festival and is now staying wherever that is. Thank God she is okay. I only got to talk to her for half a minute but I hope to talk to her again later.”

Emmet Gallagher and his wife Sylwia have been found alive and well.

He said early this morning: "We are fine power is only back now thanks for all the good wishes."

His friend on Twitter confirmed saying: “They have been contacted, alive and well”.

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Irish people in the region can use the Red Cross website to make contact with home.

A statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs said: "Following Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is now aware of some 100 Irish citizens in the affected region. Contact has been established with many of these citizens. Communications lines have been affected so the process of contacting citizens is ongoing and will take some time."

"The Department established an emergency Consular Response Team [on Saturday] and will continue to provide consular advice and assistance, and will maintain ongoing contact with concerned families, over the coming days."

"The Consular Response Team in Dublin is liaising closely with the team at the Embassy of Ireland in New Delhi which is accredited to Nepal. Embassy officials are continuing to work actively with EU and other international partners in the region, with a view to providing practical assistance for Irish citizens."

Anyone who is concerned about Irish family or friends in the region can contact the Department overnight on 01 478 0822, or from 9am in the morning direct to the consular response team on 01 418 0200.

Meanwhile, terrified climbers who scrambled for cover during the devastating Nepal earthquake published footage online.

The video shows an avalanche on Mount Everest during the earthquake.

Climbers gathered at the Mount Everest base camp scramble to run as the ground shook beneath their feet.

A cloud of snow and debris triggered by the earthquake is seen flying towards the camp.

The video, posted on YouTube by German climber Jost Kobusch, shows people at the camp during the 7.9 magnitude earthquake which hit on Sunday.

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