Malaysian embassy personnel in Kathmandu dropped everything and ran

Malaysian embassy personnel in Kathmandu dropped everything and ran
Nepalese patients are carried out of a hospital building as a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hits the country, in Kathmandu on May 12, 2015.

KUALA LUMPUR - "All we could do was drop everything and run," said Fadli Adilah, charge d'affairs at the Malaysian embassy in Kathmandu.

He was telling The Star what happened at the embassy when an earthquake hit Nepal at about 12.35pm (3.05pm Malaysian time) yesterday. The 7.3 magnitude quake was the second to hit the country in weeks; a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25 caused massive damage and deaths in the thousands.

Fadli said the staff was unprepared for a second quake so soon.

"We were all in the office when it happened. Thank god we're okay," he wrote on the embassy Facebook page.

All the embassy staff were safe but the quake damaged the building, which is in Pulchowk, Kathmandu.

Fadli said the embassy phone lines might be congested for a while. "Contact us at +977-9801008000 or +977-9801088848," he said.

Some 28 Malaysians from Insaf Malaysia and Mercy Malaysia, who were providing crisis relief in Nepal, were also safe.

Insaf's main medical clinic was in a building located in what was the epicentre of the April 25 quake - Sinjiung.

The five-man team said they felt the tremors of yesterday's quake for more than two minutes, the epicentre of which was about 80km from Sinjiung and near the Mt Everest base camp.

"Patients and volunteers quickly exited the building," said Insaf president and founder Ishak Abdul Kadir.

Mercy Malaysia president Datuk Dr Ahmad Faisal wanted to assure the families of the 23 volunteers that they were in no danger.

"The teams we sent there are trained for disaster situations," he said, promising that they would take all safety precautions.

Asked if the relief operations would be impacted by the second quake, Dr Ahmad said it was too early to tell.

"Even so, our equipment is still on the ground, We expect the teams to be functioning fully," he added.

But yesterday's quake disrupted the stream of materials and medical supplies being flown to Nepal over the past weeks.

Amriteswari Foundation of Malaysia chairman Athi Sivan Mariappan said he and his team were ready to depart for Kathmandu with medicine, food, blankets and tents.

But they were told less than an hour before their journey that all flights to the Nepal capital had been put on hold until further notice.

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