Saudi Embassy safe, Katmandu airport shut, expatriates panic

An man walks past damage caused by an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Saturday.

An man walks past damage caused by an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Saturday.

The devastating earthquake in Nepal on Saturday affected the schedule of Gulf flights to and from Katmandu, besides sending shockwaves among Nepalese and other expatriates.

The Saudi Embassy and its staff in Katmandu were, however safe, said the Nepalese Embassy in Riyadh.

Speaking to Arab News, Harishchandra Ghimire, Nepal’s deputy head of mission in Riyadh, said that diplomatic areas were largely unaffected, except a building on the Indian Embassy premises.

Ghimire said the Katmandu airport was shut following the quake. “Many flights were diverted to the Indian cities of Lucknow and New Delhi. The disaster also prompted Gulf-based airlines, including Oman Air and Gulf Air, to delay the flights to Katmandu.” Oman Air tweeted: “Due to the recent earthquake in Katmandu, Oman Air flights to and fro Katmandu will be delayed.”

The quake also sparked panic among expatriates of the affected countries living in the Kingdom as they kept calling home amid reports of devastation.

“I was deeply disturbed as I was unable to speak to my family as the network was jammed due to many people calling at the same time,” Mohan, a Nepalese worker, told Arab News. “I was tense until I could manage to speak to my family members.”

Mohammad Ataullah, an Indian schoolteacher in Riyadh, who hails from largely affected Bihar, said, “Luckily, I managed to speak to my family and found everything was fine, although my family members are deeply shaken. People back home are sitting in open grounds and parks amid reports of more tremors.”


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