Malaysians recall quaking with fear

Malaysians recall quaking with fear
Safe and sound: Syazuani with her eight-month-old baby and other Malaysians arriving home from Nepal after landing at the RMAF airport in Subang.

SUBANG - The violent earthquake which tore through Nepal and its capital Kathmandu caught everyone there off guard including Malaysians who had to dodge falling rubble and roads breaking apart under their feet to stay alive.

Rashid Ramli, 33, was at a crowded square with a friend taking pictures when the first tremors hit.

"At first we were not sure what was happening. There was a loud rumble and the people started running and screaming."

Rashid and his friend ran with the crowd and they tried to avoid falling into cracks splitting open in the ground.

"The buildings were all coming down around us as we ran down a narrow street, dodging the rubble as we ran," he said.

Rashid and his friend managed to make their way to the Tribhuvan International Airport after the earthquake and spent three days there before joining 102 other Malaysians in hitching a ride home on a Royal Malaysian Air Force's (RMAF) C-130 Hercules plane.

The group landed safely at RMAF base in Subang around 12.30am yesterday after leaving Kathmandu.

For eight-month pregnant V. Sheila, 30, and everybody else on board the plane, it was a blessing to be home safe and sound.

"They were a fear-filled few days for me and my husband following the earthquake.

"There were still tremors every hour even right before we left," she said when met after she landed.

The employee at the Malaysian Embassy said the streets were filled with victims, both alive and dead.

"People slept by the roadside because they either lost their homes or were too afraid that another quake would cause their houses to crash on them."

However 27-year-old Syazuani Suab's thoughts are still in Kath­mandu despite being greeted by relieved family members at the arrival terminal.

Her husband, who also works for the embassy, had remained there to help coordinate safe passage for other Malaysians still looking for a way home from Nepal.

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

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

"Everything shook violently, I could barely stand up straight."

Katherine Ong, 35, who went on a hiking trip with three friends, survived with the help of locals who pulled them to a shelter when the earthquake first 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 rubble crashing around us 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 their time in the hotel lobby with about 100 other people.

National Security Council secretary Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab said of the 104 who returned home, 53 were male and 43 were female.

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