Six Irish citizens still missing in earthquake disaster zone

At least six Irish citizens known to be in Nepal during the earthquake remain unaccounted for.

Six Irish citizens still missing in earthquake disaster zone

Among them is 31-year-old Sinéad Nic Cionna from Monaghan, who was trekking in the region with her Canadian boyfriend.

Her sister, Siobhán McKenna, has not heard from Sinéad since the 7.8 magnitude quake and has launched an online campaign to try and locate her.

“I was in contact with her up until the 20th when she was making plans to go to Borneo,” said Siobhán. “So we believe she was due to travel to Borneo between Saturday and today. But we don’t have her flight information and from what we received from airlines she hasn’t arrived in Borneo.

“There’s no visa information or airline reservation that we can find anyway, so we’ve no evidence of her arriving there. As far as we believe she’s still in Kathmandu.”

Siobhán, who lives in New Zealand, said her family is keeping positive and hopes her sister is alive and is just unable to make contact.

“I’ve been in an earthquake myself and I knew how terrifying it was and I knew she would want us trying to contact her,” she said. “Myself and my partner were here in Christchurch during the earthquake in 2010. We were quite terrified, there was no communications and we wanted desperately to let our family in Ireland to know that we were safe and well and Sinéad’s probably feeling that too.”

Sinéad was one of 14 Irish people on a list of people missing in Nepal compiled by The International Committee of the Red Cross. A number of them have since been accounted for, though six remain missing.

Dubliner Alex Murphy, 25, and her boyfriend Arron Conran, 22, made contact after they borrowed a phone to send a text home to say they are safe.

Cliodhna Cork, 21, from Dublin, also managed to send a text home while a friend of Oliver McKevitt from Co Down said the 24-year-old had been in touch and plans to fly to Australia.

Posts on the Google person-finder site say Pat Loughran, 66, from Dublin and Nicholas Cooney, 71, from Drogheda have been accounted for, while Darine Flanagan, 22, from Galway and Emmet Gallagher, 33, from Dublin have also been reported as safe.

Those still missing include: Ciarán Sands, 55, from Dublin; Jacqueline Bushe, 54, from Donegal; Madelana Ryan, 48, from Dublin; Niall Kavanagh, 54, from Dublin; Thomas Drumm, 55, from Monaghan; and Sinéad Nic Cionna.

Meanwhile, Seán Sherlock, minister of state for overseas development aid, confirmed that the Department of Foreign Affairs has secured a €1m fund to help the global aid effort in Nepal.

“We have a full time team on this working around the clock working to make sure we can locate Irish citizens,” said Mr Sherlock.

“We are making available up to €1m to provide life-saving essential support for food, shelter and water. This assistance will be provided through Irish Aid’s NGO partners, and will be targeted at the most vulnerable.”

Anyone concerned about family or friends can contact the Department of Foreign Affairs on 01 418 0200.


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