Chaotic scenes at Kathmandu airport as thousands try to flee Nepal
RK Srivastava, a State Bank of India employee, was looking forward to a three-day vacation in Kathmandu. But his trip turned into a nightmare soon after landing and on Monday he was desperate to get back to his home.india Updated: Apr 27, 2015 18:17 IST
RK Srivastava, a State Bank of India employee, was looking forward to a three-day vacation in Kathmandu. But his trip turned into a nightmare soon after landing and on Monday he was desperate to get back to his home.
Srivastava, a resident of Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, and 7 other members of his family had spent Sunday night at the airport and were among the nearly 1,000 Indians who are trying to leave quake-ravaged Kathmandu in rescue aircraft sent by the Indian Air Force.
"We reached Kathmandu on Saturday and the moment we checked into our hotel, the quake occurred. It has been a horrible experience since," said Srivastava as he waited in a long queue at the Tribhuvan International Airport.
Like the Srivastava family which had spent Sunday airport amid uncertainty, there were hundreds of others who were struggling to get proper food, water and shelter.
Many had to buy food and water at exorbitant prices and spend the night in open spaces and vacant areas in and around Nepal's only international airport.
"We have been at the airport since Sunday morning and no one has provided us food or water. We feel like animals," said Ajit Pandey, a resident of Gorakhpur in UP.
Indian embassy officials at the airport admitted they were facing problems due to the large number of people trying to fly out. While there were tourists in the queues, many who have been living in Nepal for years were also attempting to flee.
"Till Sunday nearly a thousand Indians had been evacuated. Two Hercules aircraft have arrived today and we will begin evacuating as soon as possible," said Sumati Rao, a senior Indian embassy official managing evacuation work at the airport.
The airport was flooded with not just Indians, but citizens from many other countries were also trying to fly out of Kathmandu. On Sunday, China sent planes to evacuate nearly 600 of its citizens.
Commercial flights to international routes which were not flying on Sunday also started operating from Monday adding to the load of passengers at the airport.