On request of the UN the Netherlands will be coordinating all rescue teams searching for victims of this weekend’s devastating earthquake in Nepal. WUAS currently has about 35 Nepalese students and its Student Registrar, Santosh Aryal, is also from Nepal.
One of the students, Krishma Shrestha who is from the Kathmandu Valley, says she was on the phone with her mother when the earthquake happened. “I just heard my Mom scream and then everything went silent. It was so scary! A friend then told me what happened and I was able to eventually get in touch with my family. It is such a difficult time for all of Nepal and not being in the country makes one feel so helpless.”
Shrestha says a house collapsed on one of her family members and his two sons. “Luckily they were close to the door when it happened and others were able to pull them out and take them to the hospital. They are doing okay now.”
Wittenborg's student registrar, Santosh Aryal, described the emotions running through him when he first heard about the earthquake on Saturday as "panic and tension". “We were not able to reach our families because everyone from all of over was phoning them. Luckily none of my friends or family were injured or their property severely damaged. Now I am trying to find out how we can help the country. I just spoke to my brother this morning. He is now more relaxed but now there is worry about the spread of disease.”
Also Sanju Prajapati, who recently started her studies at Wittenborg, says she was greatly relieved to hear that her family and friends have not suffered any injuries. “They are all safe. Still, it is very hard to connect with them because of the electricity cut-offs.”
A Dutch rescue team of 62 who landed in Nepal on Monday, immediately set to work on searching for victims. At the moment of the earthquake there were about 500 Dutch people in Nepal of which an estimated 100 has been unaccounted for so far. In the meantime, 110 Dutch people have returned to the Netherlands from Nepal.
The news that the Dutch will coordinate the rescue mission was announced in parliament by Dutch minister of Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp, yesterday. Kamp expects that the UN will soon take over the coordination of the search and rescue teams again, but for now it has been handed over to the Netherlands.
by Anesca Smith