AN ENGINEER who works in Malmesbury is among those affected by the colossal earthquake that struck Nepal this weekend.
Keith Eyles had just finished a month-long holiday trekking up Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world.
Keith, an engineer for Alvan Blanch in Malmesbury, had been in the country for a month and was due back in the UK tomorrow.
He was visiting his trekking guide's family 500 metres above Arughat Bazaar to give them presents when the earthquake struck on Saturday.
He had taken an eight-hour jeep ride to a village in the north-west of the capital, Kathmandu and then hiked two hours to reach the remote community.
In the two texts Keith has managed to send to his wife Sally Davies from Rodborough, he told her how he and the other 75 villagers were safe and sleeping outside.
The houses in the village were flattened and the cattle were all killed.
Keith also reported that the road to the village has been completely destroyed. With no electricity in the village he told his wife he could be stuck there for weeks.
Sally said: “I’m distraught, I can’t do anything and I don’t know about anything apart from what he can text to me.
“All the news seems to be concentrating on the Everest climbers.”
Aftershocks have continued to hit the country since Saturday and people have grouped in open spaces putting up tents as shelter.
Nepalese police have confirmed that the death toll is now in the thousands.
In a statement Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: “There are several hundred British nationals in Nepal at this time of year and we expect that almost certainly some will have been caught up in the earthquakes. But at this moment we have no reports of any British nationals killed or injured.
“British Embassy staff are on the ground and have provided practical help to around 200 British nationals. Teams of consular staff have also been out scouring hospitals, hotels and areas popular with tourists looking for British nationals who may need assistance.
“Damage to communications infrastructure caused by the earthquakes is making it difficult to contact people who may have been trekking in remote areas so it may be some time before we, working with the tour companies, are able to identify who is in Nepal and to account for them.”
The Department for International Development (Difd) has fast tracked aid to the country with £3m going to partners to address immediate needs on the ground and a further £2m to The British Red Cross.
Authors: Wilts & Glos Standard