A ROSLEA man caught up in the devastating Nepal earthquake has spoken of witnessing at first hand the natural disaster that claimed the lives of over 8000 and destroyed the livelihoods of countless others.
Tony Callaghan, 27, returned to the UK just last week after a planned trekking trip was cut shockingly short.
Mr Callaghan had been in China and decided on the return trip to spend time in Nepal. But, just a few days into his time there, the earthquake hit and circumstances changed immeasurably.
The research scientist had been in Kathmandu, the capital city, when it hit.
“I was there for about a week and then the earthquake happened,” he told the Fermanagh Herald, “I was mostly outside Kathmandu which is a crazy, crazy place.
“It’s a place where you’ve people shouting at you in the street selling you everything, you couldn’t walk down the street without being hounded. It was really lively, the smells, the sights and the colours – really beautiful.
“But after the earthquake hit it was just dead. A lot of the people that live and work in the city live in the villages so they went to their homes and villages. Pretty much until I left five weeks later until I left, it was dead.”
It was around midday when the earthquake hit.
“It was scary, I didn’t know what was going on – the ground just turned to liquid. Things were falling off the buildings. I just assumed it must have been an earthquake, but it was complete chaos, nobody knew what going on. Everybody was panicking, grabbing and holding onto each other.
“I had to look up and make sure that if something was coming or going to fall on me that I could dodge it. It seemed to just go on for a few minutes. It felt like I was drunk, like I’d ten pints in me and I was trying to stagger home. The worst thing was that for the four or five weeks after there were constant tremors and you couldn’t tell if that meant another earthquake was coming. So if you get a tremor when you’re a few stories high in a building which is frightening.”
It was perhaps an even longer two days for his family and friends in Roslea, however, with communications networks down.
“I didn’t call home for two days after, I couldn’t make contact. My family thought I was gone because I hadn’t rang but there wasn’t anything I could do.”
Foreign aid soon flooded in, with Tony himself doing some work with Arche Nova, a Dutch aid not-for-profit organisation.
Meanwhile, in Fermanagh, locals have raised thousands of pounds for the appeal, including a hugely successful event held in Derrygonnelly on Sunday.
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