Saturday 23 September 2017

'We are lucky to be alive' - group of up to 11 Irish people 'trapped' in Nepal following earthquake

Rescue workers search for bodies as a stretcher is kept ready after an earthquake hit, in Kathmandu, Nepal April 25, 2015. The powerful earthquake struck Nepal and sent tremors through northern India on Saturday, killing hundreds of people, toppling an historic 19th-century tower in the capital Kathmandu and touching off a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
Rescue workers search for bodies as a stretcher is kept ready after an earthquake hit, in Kathmandu, Nepal April 25, 2015. The powerful earthquake struck Nepal and sent tremors through northern India on Saturday, killing hundreds of people, toppling an historic 19th-century tower in the capital Kathmandu and touching off a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
An excavator digs the rubble to search for the bodies after an earthquake hit, in Kathmandu, Nepal April 25, 2015. The powerful earthquake struck Nepal and sent tremors through northern India on Saturday, killing hundreds of people, toppling an historic 19th-century tower in the capital Kathmandu and touching off a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
A woman cries as her son was trapped inside a collapsed house after an earthquake hit, in Kathmandu, Nepal April 25, 2015. The powerful earthquake struck Nepal and sent tremors through northern India on Saturday, killing hundreds of people, toppling an historic 19th-century tower in the capital Kathmandu and touching off a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

An Irish woman has told her family she is "lucky to be alive" following the earthquake that devastated Nepal in the early hours of this morning.

Businesswoman Catherine Jordan is one of a group of Irish people who are stranded in Nepal following a devastating earthquake which has so far claimed the lives of 1,000 people.

It is believed the group contains up to 11 Irish people.

Ms Jordan contacted her sons to let them know she was safe following the quake - but that the group were lucky to be alive.

People rest on debris at Durbar Square after an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015. A strong magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal's capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said. (AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha)
People rest on debris at Durbar Square after an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015. A strong magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal's capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said. (AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha)

Speaking to independent.ie, the son of Ms Jordan confirmed his mother was among the Irish group.

The group travelled together and were planning to go to a base camp at Mount Everest.

Read more here: More than 400 dead and hundreds hurt in Nepal earthquake 

"The group are in Kathmandu at the moment. The main thing is they are safe and well but very frightened," Leonard said.

People gather near a damaged building in Kathmandu, Nepal (AP)
People gather near a damaged building in Kathmandu, Nepal (AP)

"I received a text from our mother shortly before 8am this morning saying they were lucky to be alive," he said.

"It is very dangerous over there at the moment. They are stuck there and are looking to get out."

It's understood the group come from Courtown and its surrounding areas in Co Wexford.

The group contains Riverchapel parish priest Fr Tom Dalton and well-known local businesswoman Ms Jordan..

Volunteers help with rescue work at the site of a building that collapsed after an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal. AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha
Volunteers help with rescue work at the site of a building that collapsed after an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal. AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha

The group set off from Ireland to Kathmandu in Nepal on Friday morning.

It's believed the group had just landed and were close to the airport in Kathmandu when the quake struck.

Read more here: Death toll in devastating Nepal quake rises to 900, some in Everest avalanche 

They arrived at their destination shortly before the deadly 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck this morning at 11:41 local time (5:56am Irish time).

An Indian security personnel stands near a collapsed house after an earthquake in Siliguri, India. REUTERS/Stringer
An Indian security personnel stands near a collapsed house after an earthquake in Siliguri, India. REUTERS/Stringer

It is believed more than 1,000 people have been killed following the powerful earthquake which sent tremors through northern India, has toppled a number of historic structures in Kathmandu, and has touched off a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest. It's feared the death toll could rise.

Read more here: US to send disaster team, initial $1 million to Nepal  

There have been reports of devastation in outlying, isolated mountainous areas after the midday quake of magnitude 7.9, Nepal's worst in 81 years, centred 50 miles (80 km) east of the second city, Pokhara.

A collapse in communications hampered relief efforts, raising fears of a humanitarian disaster across the impoverished Himalayan nation of 28 million people.

A police official said the death toll in Nepal alone had reached 876, more than half of them in the Kathmandu Valley. A further 34 fatalities were reported in northern India and one in Bangladesh.

Read more here: Terror and panic in Kathmandu as deadly quake struck 

A tourism official said at least 10 people were killed when an avalanche unleashed by the earthquake swept through the Everest base camp, where more than 1,000 climbers had gathered at the start of the annual climbing season.

Around 300,000 foreign tourists were estimated to be in various parts of Nepal for the spring trekking and climbing season in the Himalayas, and officials were overwhelmed by calls from concerned friends and relatives.

Nepal, sandwiched between India and China, has had its share of natural disasters. Its worst earthquake in 1934 killed more than 8,500 people.

The tremors were felt as far away as New Delhi and other cities in northern India, with reports that they had lasted up to a minute.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi dispatched a military air transporter with three tonnes of supplies and a 40-strong disaster response team to Nepal. Three more planes were to follow, carrying a mobile hospital and further relief teams.

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