Families speak of Nepalese earthquake anguish

Nettie Burd, from South Kilworth, was volunteering in Nepal during the recent earthquake disaster
Nettie Burd, from South Kilworth, was volunteering in Nepal during the recent earthquake disaster

Two Harborough district families have spoken of their anguish after the Nepal earthquake, as they waited for news of their children, missing in the devastated country.

And the Beckett family, from Great Glen, had to wait more than 50 hours before hearing that their son Sam (23) was OK. He was trekking on Annapurna when the earthquake struck.

Nettie’s mum Eileen Burd said: “I just started crying when I got the phone call. She said ‘don’t get upset, I’m fine, I’m fine’. Because she’s in a remote place, I don’t think she realised the enormity of what had happened.”

Sam’s father Martin Beckett said: “We had to wait more than 50 hours before we got a phone call from the mother of one of the guys Sam was trekking with. Yes, we’ve had better weekends.”

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on Saturday. It centred on the mountainous district of Gorkha, about 50 miles east of where Nettie was staying, and about 50 miles from Annapurna, where Sam was trekking.

The quake’s death toll is approaching 5,000, with Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala warning it could reach 10,000. Eight million people are believed to have been affected, with many living in the open because their homes are destroyed or dangerous.

Nettie has contacted her family again – her mum was a nurse and her dad is a doctor and she is one of three sisters - to say she is now planning to stay on in Nepal, to help with relief work.

She tweeted: “First time I’ve regretted not following my parents’ career paths, the non-stop helicopters bringing injured people to local hospitals is horrid.”

Martin Beckett, a financial planner, said he and his wife Alison, a chartered surveyor “weren’t even sure where Sam was. We hear he travelled by bus through the earthquake’s epicentre just two days before the quake struck.”

Donate to disaster relief in Nepal here: https://donate.oxfam.org.uk/emergency/