A young Derry woman trapped on Mount Everest following the Nepalese Earthquake and subsequent avalanches has spoken of the devastation and her hopes of making it down safe.
Amy Webster (24) told the Journal today that there have been a succession of avalances following the earthquake and a major aftershock.
We are taking one day at a time at the minute, but us Derry ones are made of strong stuff.Amy Webster
Despite parts of the trail down Everest having been destroyed as a result, Amy, her boyfriend Ryan and three others from England, Sweden and the Czech Republic have taken the brave decision to try and make their way down off the world’s largest mountain.
They are planning to set off tomorrow (Monday) for the popular trekker stop of Pherice.
Speaking from their lodge at Gorak Shep, Amy said she and her boyfriend narrowly avoiding the initial massive avalanche which fell between the two places, as Ryan had taken ill and they had been forced to turn back.
“About one hour before the earthquake happened we were on the way to Base Camp, about half way there. We turned around and we were really disappointed but so glad we didn’t go after what happened. That was just an hour or so before the earthquake
“There is just devastation everywhere and from what we are hearing there are 30 people dead at Base Camp.”
Amy has been helping to tend to those who are arriving with injuries as a first aider.
She said: “Things here are very up and down at the minute.
“People are gradually arriving here. The lodge we are staying in has been set up as a makeshift hospital, mainly for those with minor injuries, broken bones.
“Everyone is trying to get away from Base Camp- there has been four to five avalanches today alone.
“There was another aftershock that measured 6.7 on the Richter scale.”
Amy, who has been in contact with her family in Derry, said she and her boyfriend had been travelling in Nepal and had planned to stay for another two months, but were hoping now to get home once they get off Everest.
She said: “We have decided to try and walk down as it’s a better chance of getting out.
“We don’t know if the bridges are still there but bits of the path have collapsed the whole way along.”
She added that from where they are they can see aircraft flying past all morning, trying to get to the wounded and to collect the dead from the mountain side.
“There is not enough fuel for all the helicopters. We have to walk out,” she said.
“We are taking one day a time at the minute, but us Derry ones are made of strong stuff.”
Rescue efforts have been ongoing to try and reach the injured meanwhile in Kathmandu, following the Earthquake and aftershocks.
The death toll as of Sunday afternoon had risen to over 2,150 people.
Local people are being urged to keep Amy and the others in Nepal in their thoughts and prayers.
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it 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.
A statement said: “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.”