DUBLIN (CNS) — An Irish priest who was among a group of parishioners trapped in Nepal after a catastrophic earthquake has spoken of the group’s brush with disaster, admitting “we’re lucky to be alive.”
Father Tom Dalton, a priest of the Ferns Diocese, had just arrived in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, with a group of 11 other Irish people on a trekking expedition, when the magnitude-7.8 quake struck.
Hundreds of buildings were immediately flattened and government officials predicted the death toll could top 10,000 people.
In a text message, Father Dalton told The Irish Catholic newspaper that the disaster was the “closest I ever want to be to a 9/11 experience” — a reference to the 2001 terror attack in New York that toppled the twin towers of the World Trade Center, killing almost 3,000 people.
He said the group was in one of the few buildings that did not collapse.
“The buildings collapsed and everywhere was covered in rubble and dust. We escaped that by quick thinking and closing the door for a few minutes before going outside,” he said. “We weren’t injured at all, thankfully.”
He recounted how in the aftermath of the quake, the group had celebrated an open-air Mass with locals for those who lost their lives or were affected by the disaster.
Father Dalton said the Irish group had drinking water, food and shelter, “but all around us there is huge devastation.”
“They are still pulling bodies from the rubble in the old square,” he said, “and the aftershocks are constant.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Pope says ‘scandal’ of inequality, fear of marriage must be addressed
NEXT: Rain, rubble: With no help in sight, Nepalese try to salvage possessions
Share this story