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Dubai resident at Everest base camp talks about the Nepal quake.

A Dubai resident who was at the Everest base camp during the quake in Nepal has described how "rocks rained down" on him and fellow climbers.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the country in the early hours on Saturday. It caused widespread death and destruction, as well as triggering avalanches on Mount Everest.

One avalanche smashed into a camp at the foothills of the mountain, killing at least eight climbers and guides, injuring many and leaving an unknown number missing near the mountain's most dangerous spot.

The avalanche struck between the Khumbu Icefall, a notoriously treacherous rugged area of collapsed ice and snow, and the base camp where most climbing expeditions are, said Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.

Among those on the mountain at the time of the quake was British expat Sean James, who lives in Dubai.

He spoke to 7DAYS over the phone from base camp.

He said: "It was disastrous. Rocks came raining down. It was like we were on a ship. It lasted for about 40 seconds, which is a lot. We are in a flat plateau right now, so no one where we are got hurt".

"But we were in touch with some of our friends in the south side of the Everest and there was a massive avalanche on their side. We haven't been able to get in touch with some of the Sherpas on that side. We are still waiting to see if everyone we know is OK".

He added: "It's still too early to tell if we are going to continue climbing or we going to put it on hold. There could be potential risks. Rocks may continue to fall or increased risk of avalanches".

James is at Everest with five of his former colleagues, who are there to climb the summit.

Other expats from the UAE who were taking part in the Base Camp Challenge by Gulf for Good are also safe, a spokesperson confirmed.

Tricia Evans, strategy governor at Gulf for Good, said:"All the Everest base camp challenge participants are safe and sound. The group is currently in Labouche".

"We are closely monitoring the ongoing situation in conjunction with our partners on the ground in Nepal.The safety, security and well-being of all challengers is the most important priority for Gulf for Good".

A few students and staff members from Murdoch University International Study Centre Dubai, who were going to trek to the base camp are also safe and have put their challenge on hold.

AP reported at least 688 people are confirmed dead in Nepal so far.

Sarwat@7days.ae

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Apr 25, 2015
Words:446
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