A Co Down man who survived the Kathmandu earthquake said he felt like a mere “speck on top of the planet” such was the scale of the disaster.
David Rose from Bangor was working on a development project for the National Democratic Institute when the natural disaster struck around lunchtime last Saturday.
More than 6,200 people are known to have died and almost three million have been displaced as a result of the quake that had a magnitude of 7.9.
The former PUP deputy leader said the 52 seconds it took for the ground to stop shaking on the hillside 30 miles from Nepal’s capital “felt like 52 hours”.
He told the News Letter: “The only way I could describe it was that it was like standing on jelly. Whenever I looked back up at the building it was shaking from side to side very violently and we thought the building might come down.
“Local people were running past us down the hill because that’s where their village was and they were trying to get back to their families.
“Whenever I looked out over the valley you could see all the puffs of smoke going up, which was housing and buildings collapsing.”
Some 1,000 Europeans in the country are still unaccounted for, according to a European Union official. The EU’s Ambassador to Nepal Rensje Teerink told reporters that “of course doesn’t mean they are dead. It just means they haven’t reported back”.
Meanwhile, the UN humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos told reporters at the UN compound in Nepal’s capital that aid workers face “immense logistical challenges” trying to get aid to mountainside villages.
Mr Rose said the scale of the crisis was immediately obvious as his group negotiated cracked roads on the way to the airport.
“The infrastructure, like the water supply, the sewerage system and electricity has all been badly damaged. Clean water is going to be a really big problem but the Red Cross has been very active on the ground.
Commenting on the sheer scale of the earthquake and its aftermath, he added: “It makes you realise you’re just a speck on top of the planet.”
On Friday, The Duke of Cambridge expressed his sympathy for those left bereaved and homeless, by signing a book of condolence at Nepal’s embassy in London.