Saturday 17 February 2018

Red Cross: Three Irish people missing in Nepal after devastating earthquake

Conor Feehan and Elaine McCahill

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 4,000 lives.

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

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

Ciaran Sands (55) from Dublin, Madelana Ryan (48) from Dublin, and Thomas Drumm (55) from Monaghan.

Jacqueline Bushe (54) from Donegal, Niall Kavanagh (54) from Dublin, Sam O’Neill (28), Sinead Nic Cionna (31) from Monaghan, and Pat Loughran (66) from Dublin, who there were earlier concerns for, are all safe and well.

A woman rushes for safety during a strong aftershock
A woman rushes for safety during a strong aftershock
A woman weeps during the cremation of a victim of the earthquake, at the Pashupatinath temple on the banks of Bagmati river, in Kathmandu
Nepalese take shelter in makeshift tents in an open ground from fears of earthquake tremors in Kathmandu, Nepal
A boy injured in an earthquake looks out from the window of a hospital as bodies are brought in a day after the earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal
Jack Hogan
Catherine Jordan (61) from Courtown, Wexford is in Kathmandu

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.

"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.

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: 'Earthquake tourism' - Photos emerge of people taking selfies in front of damaged landmarks

“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”.

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.

Separately, the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has sent eight teams to assist those affected by the Earthquake in Nepal.

 "In Katmandu, hospitals are very busy with the management of wounded cases. A specialist MSF surgical team has arrived to set-up a surgical unit to treat the wounded. Medical teams will run mobile clinics aimed at reaching people affected by the earthquake in remote areas.

"Helicopters have been booked in order to get closer to the epicentre and three inflatable hospitals will be used," said Jane-Ann Mc Kenna, Director of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Ireland.

"The initial priority is for specialist surgical teams to treat the wounded, while maternity care and treatment of trauma will also be a focus. Special attention will also need to be paid to the potential for outbreaks. Emergency supplies are on the way from MSF in addition to 3000 medical and non-medical kits already sent. Another MSF team has arrived with additional medical and water & sanitation capacity" she said.

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.

The men in the video are lucky to survive but the massive avalanche killed some 20 people at the camp and injured dozens others.

Meanwhile, an Irish aid worker in Nepal has told how he narrowly escaped the devastating earthquake that has claimed more than 3,200 lives.

Jack Hogan from Ranelagh in Dublin slept out in the open last night for fear of aftershocks.

The aid worker works with the Umbrella Foundation, which rescues trafficked children, and its base is around 70km from the epicentre of the magnitude 7.8 quake that hit near the capital Kathmandu on Saturday.

"I was actually at home playing my guitar in my flat not far from our base when the quake hit at 11.55am," said Jack.

"At first I wasn't sure what was going on, but soon realised it was an earthquake and so I followed the protocol of covering my head and the back of my neck and waited until it was over, which was about 30 seconds later.

Read more: Foreigners in Nepal at time of deadly earthquake

"I went outside and I could see how older and poorly constructed buildings had fallen, and a temple on the hill had collapsed."

Jack made his way to the Umbrella base and now he and around another 10 adults and 50 children are sleeping in its playground in the open.

"We have no electricity, but have food and water to last a few days. Around 50ft from us a building collapsed and killed two people," Jack said.

Meanwhile, a group of climbers from Courtown, Co Wexford, are preparing to fly home from Nepal.

They arrived in the country shortly before the earthquake hit. They had been due to travel to the base camps at Everest which were engulfed by avalanches triggered by the quake.

Read more: 'I managed to dig myself out using my hands like claws - I couldn't breathe'

One of the climbers is Catherine Jordan (61), whose son Keith described his relief that she is safe.

"They had only landed when she texted me to say there had been an earthquake but they were safe," he said.

"I didn't know how bad it was until the news started to filter through, and now we can see the extent of how serious the situation is. They are now staying in a garden because they can't use the building because of the fear of aftershocks, and they have no power so communication is difficult. I have had to organise flights home for them on Wednesday."

Irish Independent

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