First Hong Kong victim confirmed dead in Nepal earthquake disaster
Himalayan catastrophe claims first victim from city as quake death toll rises to more than 4,600
A Hong Kong resident has died in the Nepal earthquake, it was confirmed yesterday as the death toll rose to more than 4,600 and officials warned the figure could reach 10,000.
The 42-year-old victim was of Nepali origin but held a Hong Kong identity card and lived with his family and worked in the city.
It is the first death involving a Hong Kong resident in the disaster. The Immigration Department said it had contacted the man's family to offer assistance.
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said the number killed could reach 10,000, making it the worst disaster in the country's history. Nepal's home ministry said 8,174 people had been hurt.
Last night, eight Hongkongers remained missing. Another 33 were confirmed safe and well, including four women on a climbing expedition who had been unaccounted for.
Julie Ng Hoi-yan, 27, Gloria Yeung Wai-yue, 25, Clara Cheung Yan-shi, 28, and Jessica Leung Yin-ting, 27, had lost contact with their families for more than two days since the quake struck.
Ng, Yeung and Cheung are final-year medical students at the University of Hong Kong, while Leung is a lawyer.
They were on their way to the Mount Everest base camp, one of the hardest-hit areas. Cheung is the daughter of Christine Fang Meng-sang, former head of the Council of Social Service and a cousin of former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang.
Clement Ip, a friend of Leung, received a WhatsApp message yesterday morning from one of the four women saying they were safe in Lobuche, a small settlement near Everest. They also sent a picture of themselves. "The signal was very weak ... but I told them to go to a hotel in Lobuche to get Wi-fi and then we can try to send a helicopter to pick them up," Ip said.
The HKU medical school yesterday confirmed that three other students in the same class were also found safe in Nepal.
Meanwhile, about 10 Hongkongers returned to Chek Lap Kok airport yesterday morning from the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, including five of 12 Chinese University students who had been on a medical exchange.
The mother of one student hugged her son and cried. The son, surnamed Lau, said he hoped the government could help other Hongkongers stuck in Nepal to get back home soon.
"We feel really happy," he said. "We are really the luckiest group because we could come back so fast without any injuries."
Three immigration officers arrived in Nepal yesterday to help locate those who remain missing.
Meanwhile, Chinese authorities raced to rescue more than 250 Chinese workers trapped in a badly damaged hydro station they were building in northern Nepal before they run out of food.
Xinhua reported that a Chinese helicopter was deployed to rescue 25 people, including one child, from the station being built by a subsidiary of the China Three Gorges Corporation in Rasuwagadhi.
One worker was killed and another two badly injured.
How to help
Hong Kong Red Cross "Nepal Earthquake 2015" operation
HSBC : 500-334149-010/ Hang Seng bank account: 267-175123-009/ Bank of China bank account: 012-806-00034033
Oxfam's Nepal Earthquake Emergency Response
HSBC: 001-6-331860/ Bank of China: 012-874-0-010515-7/ Hang Seng Bank: 284-401080-003
Unicef "Donation for Nepal Earthquake"
HSBC: 567-354014-005/ Bank of China: 012-875-0-021868-3/ Wing Lung Bank: 020-601-003-7634-8/ Bank of East Asia: 015-260-81-012100
World Vision "Nepal Earthquake Relief"
HSBC: 018-377077-003/ Hang Seng Bank: 286-364385-005/ Bank of China: 012-883-0-002136-6