The Current

Canadians caught in Nepal earthquake share their stories

In the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake, every story of survival includes the realization many have died. And every link to someone found physically unharmed, underlines the frantic search by those who wait to hear from loved ones. Today the stories of survival, of grief and frustration from afar.
"Helicopters high above the #Khumbuicefall and #Everest2015 Basecamp. An incredible team of doctors and emergency responders saved dozens of lives. Heroes at every turn. Bravery every step of the way," Saikaly wrote on Instagram. (Elia Saikaly/Instagram)

A German mountain climber recorded this video, on Saturday, on a Mount Everest base camp. It's the last thing that many would have seen, or heard, on the mountains in Nepal this past weekend. At least 18 people died in that avalanche. That German climber and his friends.... were some of the lucky ones.

As that climbing party breathes a sigh of relief... the country all around them is reeling. After the worst earthquake to strike Nepal in more than 8 decades, the official death toll just continues to climb to to beyond 4,400 today. 

Destroyed tents everywhere, but the Nepal flag stands tall on top of the puja altar after Nepal's massive earthquake, writes Elia Sailkaly on Twitter. (Elia Saikaly/Instagram)

For such a remote part of the world, Nepal is, of course, a magnet for adventurers from all over, including Canada. There were hundreds of Canadian there at the time of the strike, 462 Canadians were registered there, though the number is almost certainly much higher, since registering is voluntary. It's not clear how many are still missing.

The stories of Canadians who survived the quake have been emerging, especially through social media, over the last 48 hours. And the Canadian government yesterday said it was boosting its consular staff in the region to assist stranded Canadians, in addition to sending more relief supplies and matching charitable donations.

Elia Saikaly is an Ottawa climber and filmmaker who was near base camp when the world's tallest mountain was hit by the avalanche. He survived but one of his friends, Google executive Dan Fredinburg, was killed. We reached Elia Saikaly at the Mount Everest base camp. 

Elia Saikaly documents Nepal earthquake from Everest base camp

Elia Saikaly is safe today... But the families of other Canadians are still waiting anxiously for their news.

Kandy Barker is one. Her brother Bruce Macmillian, and his wife Kathy were last known to be in Langtang National Park on a seven day trek. They haven't been heard from since the quake. Kandy Barker joined us from Montreal. 

To find out more about what the government is doing to help Canadians in Nepal and the relatives of missing Canadians, we were joined by Lois Brown. She is a Conservative MP and parliamentary secretary to the Minister of International Development in Ottawa. 

Is a loved one missing in Nepal? Let the Canadian government know who you are looking for.

  • 1-800-387-3124 (Toll Free in Canada)
  • 1-613-916-8885 (Collect calls accepted)

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino, Josh Bloch and Sarah Grant.