Nepal earthquake: Toronto man is safe, family says

A Toronto man in Nepal during a massive earthquake that killed thousands of people has contacted his family and is safe.

Ontario government sending $1M for aid and relief efforts

Casey Blustein, 22, was travelling in Nepal when the massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck on April 25. (Facebook)

A Toronto man travelling in Nepal during a massive earthquake that killed at least 4,000 people has contacted his family and is safe.

Casey Blustein, 22, was backpacking in the country when the 7.9-magnitude quake struck, collapsing entire streets in the capital Kathmandu and inflicting widespread damage. Hundreds of thousands of people have been left without shelter, and officials worry about shortages of food and water.

A Facebook page called Find Casey Blustein was set up by his family shortly after the earthquake occurred. On Monday morning, his family posted that he had made contact with them and was safe in the Manang region. He told them he is with a large number of other westerners and locals.

"I am in a guest house and it is really safe here!" he wrote in a message that was posted on the Facebook page. He said he is with another man from Toronto named Seth Strimas-Mackey, adding that they have lots of food, water and supplies.

Similarly, the family of 77-year-old Wyba Byalsma, of Cobourg, Ont., who was previously missing, told CBC News Monday that he had called them overnight around 2 a.m. ET to report that he was uninjured and safe, though he is currently on the streets without a place to stay. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs said there are 462 Canadians registered in Nepal, though registration is voluntary and that number is only a rough estimate. 

Reports have been pouring in from around the country about Canadians in Nepal during the earthquake, including several from Ontario

The provincial government announced this morning that it would be giving $1 million to Nepal for relief efforts. Similarly, the federal government has deployed a disaster response team as well as a civilian-led assessment team. Both groups will work to assess the situation on the ground and determine what kind of aid is most needed and how best to deliver it.