Israeli travelers tell post-quake tales, say 'everyone was in shock'

With 150 unaccounted for, it remains unclear if Israelis were harmed in the deadly quake, those accounted for share their story.

By DANA SOMBERG/MAARIV HASHAVUA
April 26, 2015 11:01
2 minute read.

Video shows Nepal quack damage

Video shows Nepal quack damage

 
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Hundreds of thousands of travelers, amongst them many Israelis, were present in Nepal Saturday morning when a deadly earthquake struck, resulting in upwards of 2,000 casualties. The Foreign Ministry said 150 Israelis remain unaccounted for, with communication being made difficult due to faltering phone services post-quake. They cautioned against assuming that those unaccounted for were in danger.

Rescue forces from Israel are expected to arrive Sunday at the scene of destruction. A six-person IDF delegation, along with delegations from MDA, ZAKA, and United Hatzala are set to make their way to disaster-struck Nepal.

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With 150 unaccounted for, it remains unclear if Israelis were harmed in the deadly quake. Yet as time goes on, more of the unaccounted for are able to contact their families back home and bear news of their safety.

Nofar Lutzato, an Israeli traveler in Katmandu, said, "It was a very strong quake, the whole building shook, it was really frightening. I thought it was a terror attack. I had no idea earthquakes could be so strong." She then added, "everything shook. Objects fell in the room. There was hysteria everywhere- both amongst the locals and the tourists. We went outside and found refuge in a safe place, but there were still aftershocks."

Chani Lipshitz, of the Katmandu Chabad House, said, "Everyone wants to be together and we're ensuring that everyone is alright. We're distributing hot food and taking care of injured Israelis on the couches of the Chabad House."

Itamar, another Israeli traveler, said the earthquake was like a scary movie. "The whole ground shook, I've never experienced such a thing," he said. "The infrastructure here is old and not prepared to handle such a quake. I spoke to my parents, I'm safe, but I think I'll return to Israel," he added.

Naveh Masad told The Jerusalem Post's Hebrew-language sister publication, Ma'airv, "I was at the hostel skyping my mother in Israel when the ground began shaking. We went outside and found a safe, open space until the quake would calm."



Hezki Lipshitz, the local Chabad rabbi, said dozens of Israeli travelers came to the house for assistance. "Within minutes of the quake, all of the Israelis gathered in the area," he said. "It's a rather safe area because there aren't buildings in danger of collapsing here."

Shahar, who had been traveling in Nepal for a month when the earthquake struck, described the scene as "difficult," saying, "there are bodies sprawled on the streets, it looks as though a bomb hit the spot and wiped everything out."

Mia Shoham was 80 kilometers away from the heart of the quake when it struck. She says at first she didn't panic, thinking the quake "was something small." Yet as it escalated, panic erupted. "The locals started panicking, saying they had never experienced such a phenomenon," she said. "People started fainting in the middle of the street. It reminded me of scenes from the Intifada- when you'd see people lying down helpless on the ground, running to the roads, trying to figure out where they can run to protect themselves. In the end, everyone just stood in the middle of the road in shock. Pure shock."

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