Nepali expats in UAE react to Kathmandu earthquake

Nepali expats in UAE react to Kathmandu earthquake

Nepalis in UAE are distraught about the earthquake back home as they frantically try to contact their families and loved ones.

By Yousuf Saifuddin Kapadia - Web Journalist

Published: Sat 25 Apr 2015, 7:10 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 7:33 PM

Dubai - It's been called the worst earthquake to hit Nepal since 1934 – when a 7.9 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal earlier today, sending shockwaves among the Nepali community in the UAE, who were concerned for the safety of their families and loved ones back home as they frantically tried to contact them.

Talking to Khaleej Times, an employee at a local shop, Nepali expat Manisha Khatri said that she was trying to call her parents back home since morning, after she heard about the earthquake, but in vain.

Earlier today, a powerful, 7.9-magnitude earthquake shook Nepal’s capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, collapsing houses, leveling centuries-old temples and cutting open roads in the worst temblor in the Himalayan nation in over 80 years.

As per latest reports, the earthquake has claimed nearly 758 lives, including  181 in the capital Kathmandu. Its tremors were felt as far away as India, Tibet, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The earthquake also shook several cities across northern India, and was felt as far away as Lahore in Pakistan and Lhasa in Tibet, 550 kilometers (340 miles) east of Kathmandu. The epicenter was 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Kathmandu.

At least 34 people have died in India to the massive earthquake, the home ministry said.

"As per the latest information, 34 deaths have been confirmed so far, with 23 deaths in Bihar, eight in Uttar Pradesh and three in West Bengal," the ministry said in a statement.

In order to deal with the situation in the affected states, five teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have already been sent -- one to Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and one each to Darbhanga, Supaul, Motihari and Gopalganj in Bihar.

The team includes medical and paramedic personnel. The teams have equipment such as live detector machines, cutters which can cut steel, concrete and wood.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a meeting of top government officials to review the damage and disaster preparedness in parts of India that felt strong tremors. The Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Sikkim, which share a border with Nepal, have reported building damage. There have also been reports of damage in the northeastern state of Assam.

With communication lines down, Khatri added that her only source of information was social media, where news agencies and individuals have been posting updates from Nepal. She further said that as per reports more aftershocks were expected in the coming days, hoping that everything is fine in the end.

Khatri’s friend and Nepali expat, Kalpana, was emotional as she shared her reaction to the earthquake, saying that she is clueless as to how her family is back in Kathmandu as she too has not been able to reach them, adding that she has heard reports about towers and building damaged in the aftermath.

“We are at duty…so we can’t regularly check Facebook or the news for updates …and have lost my apetite due to tension,” Kalpana said.

Security guard and Kathmandu resident, Sabin Aryal, reflecting upon the earthquake, said that he wasn’t able to contact his family back home and was very tensed about the entire situation.

“I am hurt to hear about the deaths back home and the collapse of the historic Dharahara tower, which  also resulted in the loss of many lives,” a distraught Aryal told Khaleej Times.

Another fellow security guard at a parking lot, reacting to news of the violent earthquake told Khaleej Times, that he had received updates about it via Facebook.

“I am very saddened to hear about the loss of innocent lives, including the young and old….I am not able to contact home, but I am hopeful I will make contact with them as soon as possible.”


(with inputs from agencies)

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