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Expats worried about quake-hit kin
By Syed Shayaan Bakht April 29, 2015
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SHARJAH: Expatriates in the UAE are distressed and hugely worried over the earthquake that nearly destroyed Nepal and played havoc in India and Bangladesh too. The Gulf Today found out after getting in touch with them.

It is a gargantuan calamity whose cascading effect is hard to express, they felt. A massive 7.9 earthquake tore through Nepal, reducing the capital Kathmandu and surrounding areas to near rubble. The natural disaster took over 5,000 lives, with survivors left only with harrowing tales of the deadly experiences. Thousands lost their loved ones, their homes, and sadly those trapped under the debris. The impact of the calamity also killed people in neighbouring India and Bangladesh and affected China, instilling nightmarish fears among the expats here. All of them have been on the phone continuously, this reporter found out.

A UAE resident, Prabir spoke to The Gulf Today. Prabir broke down while describing the scale of damage. “ I am sad and worried. At this moment every Nepalese in the world is scared of the consequences of losing his loved ones.”

My brother Nischal and sister Pushpa are with me. “We are praying and ask everyone to pray for the Nepalese people at this difficult time.”

Romisha Chamlagain, another Nepalese expat, couldn’t get over the devastating images of the destruction. “My family is safe but, nearby temples of Bhaktapur were completely destroyed, people are sleeping on the streets; there is no food, no basic utilities. Now we need support from various international agencies.”

An Indian expat, Nitish Bali, who works with a multinational firm says, “I phoned my family in India and spoke to them. They were safe.” But some others he knew are no more. He was  devastated by that.

“What we can do is help those disaster-stricken people in whatever ways we can.”

Nitish and his team have decided to send some clothes to Nepal as well. He says, “That is the least we could do for those people.”

A Koteshwor, Kathmandu, resident, Prabinda Shrestha and his wife, Sanu Shrestha were among others who managed to flee their home. This was revealed by Prabir. The duo described heart freezing scenes of mothers running in search of kids, tears rolling down their cheeks. Luckily Koteswar was spared. But the nearby locality was completely razed.

In  the ancient city of Bhaktapur residents cry as they walk through debris caused by the powerful earthquake. The nation’s capital, Kathmandu, the historic nine-storey Dharahara Tower, a Kathmandu landmark built by Nepal’s royal rulers as a watchtower in the 1800s and a UNESCO-recognised historical monument was destroyed. It was reduced to rubble and there were reports of people trapped underneath, Prabir informed.

Md Kofiluddin, a Bangladeshi national says, “My native place was affected. But my family is safe. Walls have developed deep cracks. Allah is merciful. Everyone is safe.”

But Kofiluddin expressed his grief of those who lost their lives in the nation elsewhere.

Disturbing images of crying children, people with injuries, families in distress are appearing daily.

As days break, rescuers aided by international teams set out to dig through rubble of buildings — concrete slabs, bricks, iron beams, wood — to look for survivors. But end up pulling out bodies, with little room for survivors.

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