27 Apr 2015

Nepal earthquake: survivors and families tell their tales

Britons on mountaineering holidays in Nepal, as well as Nepalese in the UK, have all been affected by the huge earthquake that struck at the weekend. These are some of their stories.

The earthquake which hit Nepal on 25 April triggered avalanches 100 miles away on Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak (see video above).

Since then stories have emerged of Britons and others stranded on or near the mountain.

London newly-weds Sam Chappette and Alex Schneider had just embarked on an expedition to climb the peak with a group organised by mountaineering travel company Summit Climb.

On the day the earthquake hit, they managed to blog

“Avalanches have shaken Everest after the earthquake this morning [….] A massive earthquake just hit Everest. Basecamp has been severely damaged. Our team is caught in camp 1. Please pray for everyone.”

In their next entry later on the same day, they describe the earthquake –

“The ground started shaking violently but before we could react, Dan (Mazur, the expedition leader, pictured below left) was shouting ‘Get out of your f****** tents, grab your ice axes!’ We staggered out to see an avalanche coming straight at us.”

Dan Mazur’s first tweet on 25 April had announced that his team was preparing for the expedition. But by the end of the day he was sending out this message –

The next day he posted –

Also in the Summit Climb party were James Grieve, 52, and 19-year-old Alex Staniforth (pictured above right). Mr Grieve described to the Sun newspaper the sense of confusion at camp 1 in the aftermath of the avalanche: “There are still about 120 of us here waiting to be rescued,” he said. “We are in a race against time.”

Alex Staniforth, from Chester, who is raising money for the Himalayan Trust, has been tweeting via his UK-based support team since 25 April.

He confirmed that he was safe but said he was concerned for the mountaineers at base camp when the main avalanche struck. On 27 April he tweeted that he was “emotionally trashed” by what had happened –

But by 27 April, Dan Mazur was able to post on his Facebook page that the expedition had arrived “back down to the relative safety and comfort of bbase camp”.

The death toll from the Nepal earthquake on 25 April has now topped 3,500.

Yesterday's statement by the Foreign Office says that British nationals will "almost certainly" have been caught up, and that the British embassy in Kathmandu has "provided practical help to around 200 British nationals".

The FCO told Channel 4 News that it was not in a position to say any more publicly about the situation in Nepal.

Earlier today the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRE) issued a list containing 90 names of British and Irish-born people believed to be missing in Nepal.

The ICRC is also running a webpage which allows people hitherto listed as missing to register themselves as alive.

Back in England, Alex Parry, from Brighton, has spoken of his “massive relief” at discovering that his girlfriend is alive.

Tara Bradshaw had been travelling in the area with Mr Parry. Alex returned to the UK but she remained out there.

“All of this has felt slightly like a dream, being so far away and detached from it,” he says (see video above).

“At some points I thought she might have been killed, just from the amount devastation it seemed to have caused.”

Meanwhile, in Sydenham, Menuka Ghimire and her husband, Binod Timilsina, have family in Nepal who have been left homeless by the disaster.

“I don’t know where they’re going to stay from tomorrow because there is no house,” she says (see video below). What is more, her family have nothing to eat after losing all fhe food they had stored.