"Everything shook violently, I could barely stand up"

"Everything shook violently, I could barely stand up"

SUBANG - It was a fear-filled few days for Malaysians staying in Nepal after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck on Saturday.

One hundred and four of them - tourists and embassy staff - landed at the Subang base on a RMAF C-130 Hercules plane at about 12.30am Wednesday after being trapped for three days in Nepal.

"There were still tremors every hour even right before we left," said V. Sheila, 30, a staff of the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu.

"There was fear in me and my husband following the earthquake," she said when met after her plane landed at Subang.

Sheila said the streets were filled with bodies and people slept by the roadside because they either lost their homes or were too afraid to go indoors should another earthquake strike.

"We are just happy to be back," said Sheila, who is eight months pregnant with her first baby.

The RMAF plane departed Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu at 3.10pm (Malaysian) on Tuesday, made a stop at Calcutta, India before arriving at Subang.

Latest reports said casualties from the earthquake could reach over 5,000 with some 10,000 injured.

For 27-year-old Syazuani Suab, the thoughts of Kathmandu still lingered on despite arriving here and greeted by relieved family members at the arrival hall.

Syazuani said she was in her house when the earthquake hit.

"Everything shook violently, I could barely stand up straight. Afterwards, I ran out and saw the roads and buildings were completely destroyed. It was chaos," she said.

Her husband, who also works for the embassy, had remained there coordinate the departure of other Malaysians.

"I am happy that my eight-month-old son and I are safe but I am worried for my husband. I hope he is alright," Syazuani said.

Rashid Ramli, 33, and a friend endured freezing temperatures at the airport for three days before finally boarding the C-130.

"It was the longest three days of my life. We couldn't sleep because it was so cold.

"I started jogging around the airport just to stay warm," he said.

Katherine Ong, 35, who was in Nepal with three friends on a hiking trip, survived with the help of locals who pulled them to a shelter when the earthquake hit.

"We were walking around the city and sightseeing when the ground started moving and the old buildings started crumbling around us.

"We ran trying to dodge the rumble and a group of locals pulled us into a hotel lobby," she said.

Ong said she and her friends ended up spending the rest of the time in the hotel with about 100 other people as everyone was too afraid to venture to the upper floors for fear that the building would collapse.

National Security Council secretary Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab said eight children aged below 12 were among the 104 who returned.

He said while most of the Malaysians staying in Kathmandu had been evacuated, those from outside the city were starting to arrive looking for a way out of Nepal.

"We are monitoring the situation and I urge them to register with the embassy officials there," he said.

The earthquake's epicentre was between Kathmandu and Pokhara city at 2.56pm (Malaysian time) on Saturday.

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