89 Singaporeans And PRs Evacuated By SAF C130 Plane

After bad weather and heavy air traffic foiled plans to evacuate them from quake-hit Kathmandu on Monday, 89 Singaporeans and permanent residents finally returned home safely from 12.30am today (April 29).

Worry-stricken since the 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal last Saturday, family members who were waiting for hours at Paya Lebar Airbase embraced the evacuees shortly after they disembarked from the two Republic of Singapore Air Force C-130 planes that flew them back.

One of them, Mr Chan Siong Cheong, 63, heaved a sigh of relief when he finally saw his 28-year-old son Jack, who had been trekking in Nepal, safe and sound.

Recounting his communications with his son after the earthquake, he said: “On his way out of the city, he said the place started shaking. After that, I couldn’t get in touch with him because there was no connection.”

Ms Murni Mastan, 38, who managed to get onto the plane only because her friends informed her about the flights on social media, said the experience has left its mark. “I don’t know how to come back to normal after the longest four days of my life.”

Another Singaporean tourist in Nepal, Mr Wong C C, said the ordeal has taught him “not to take things for granted … We saw a lot of things we haven’t seen before — houses crumbling everywhere, in villages especially.”

The three C-130s sent by Singapore, carrying medical supplies and aid personnel, touched down in Kathmandu at 4pm yesterday. Two hours later, two of the planes set off for Singapore with the evacuees.

As his ministry continues to contact Singaporeans in Nepal and help those wishing to return home do so, Second Foreign Affairs Minister Masagos Zulkifli, who was at the airbase this morning, said the Government is committing an additional S$150,000 for relief efforts in Nepal.

“Given the scale of this disaster, as they call for more help, the Singapore Government is putting in another S$150,000 … to help our friends in Nepal,” he said.

The funds will be disbursed through the Singapore Red Cross, which has already received S$100,000 from the Government as seed money.

Meanwhile, fundraising in Singapore for relief efforts continue. The Singapore Red Cross yesterday said it would quadruple its contributions to S$200,000 worth of relief items, including household kits, for those who have lost their homes in Nepal.

By the end of its second day of collection, a total of more than S$200,000 in walk-in donations and cheques had been amassed.

Singapore-based Mercy Relief also said it had collected more than S$195,000 in public donations.


Source: www.todayonline.com

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