Nepal quake: ‘I thought the ground would crack open’

Seven hikers from South Africa were stranded at Nepal airport after the earthquake.

FILE: People clear rubble in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was severely damaged by an earthquake on 25 April 2015. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - A South African woman who survived this weekend's earthquake in Nepal described to Eyewitness News how she prayed that the ground wouldn't crack beneath her.

Eileen Botha, Errol Goodman and five other hikers from the Johannesburg Hiking Club are back in South Africa after being stranded in Nepal.

The hikers were on a last minute shopping trip when the quake hit on Saturday.

Botha said she felt helpless as she watched the buildings collapse around her and said she thought the shaking would never stop.

"Then there was an aftershock, I think it was around 6,5 [magnitude] and that was really scary. I didn't think anything, I don't think we all thought of dying. I think we just thought the earth would open and we'd all fall in."

She had one goal in mind, to stay away from collapsing buildings so she could get back home to her family.

"It's a helpless feeling not knowing what to do. It's almost a lonely feeling. You are sitting there thinking what if I die - if I fall into the hole nobody would ever know where we are."

LISTEN: SA woman describes Nepal quake ordeal

After making her way to open land, she waited in the same place for two hours as she was scared of the aftershocks.

Botha watched mothers hold onto their babies as the ground continued to shake.

She has since been reunited with her family.

Overview of the situation in Nepal (on 28 April) where more than 4,300 have died as a result of Saturday's earthquake. Source: AFP.


As the death toll from Saturday's earthquake in Nepal continue to increase, officials are saying one million children are in urgent need of help.

Heartbreaking scenes of suffering and loss are playing out across the nation as it reels from its deadliest natural disaster in more than 80 years.

Aid groups, including South Africa's Gift of the Givers Foundation and at least 16 nations have rushed to Nepal with more on the way.

Watch: #NepalQuake: Medical situation dire


Meanhwile, Rescue workers trying to reach people who desperately need help in earthquake-ravaged Nepal are facing a myriad of obstacles and the weather is only making things worse.

In the district of Gorkha, where the 7.9 magnitude quake was centred, a large storm has rumbled over the mountainous terrain leading to cancelled helicopter flights.

This means fewer airdrops of vital supplies to devastated villages and it has also dashed hopes of rescue for injured people in isolated locations.

More than 5,000 people have died but Nepalese authorities are warning the death toll is likely to be far higher as rescue and recovery operations continue.

WATCH: #NepalQuake: Mother freed after being trapped for 36 hours