Nenagh woman Fionnuala Daffy is safe in Nepal following massive earthquake

Fionnuala Daffy from Nenagh with some of her pupils in Kathmandu
Nenagh woman Fionnuala Daffy from Grallagh who was caught in the devastating earthquake in Nepal last weekend is safe and well, her mother told the Tipperary Star.

Nenagh woman Fionnuala Daffy from Grallagh who was caught in the devastating earthquake in Nepal last weekend is safe and well, her mother told the Tipperary Star.

Fionnuala, who has spent a number of years in the country, is currently running a Buddhist school for future nuns, the Tsoknyi Gechak School in Chobhar. She helped found the school on the outskirts of Kathmandu three years ago.

“I saw the news, but, thankfully, Fionnuala had left a message saying she was all right. However, I have been anxious ever since because it is rough over there,” said mum Sinead. “I have spoken to her as she has managed to phone.”

Sinead said the biggest problem at the moment was the lack of electricity as the school’s water system is pumped from a well.

“It is serious to be without electricity as no water can be pumped into the tanks. Water is precious. Without it you have big problems such as illness and sanitation,” she said. It also means that Fionnuala may not be contactable when the electricty is out.

Sinead reported that all of those at the school, which has over 100 pupils, along with Fionnuala’s friends, were safe, though one teacher had lost her home. However, many houses in Chobhar itself had collapsed in the earthquake.

“Thanks be to God they are safe. It is frightening,” she said.

With reports that the death toll may reach 10,000, Sinead said that the full needs of the victims were still not known as many of the outlying villages have been cut off.

Having recently returned from a visit to her daughter, Sinead said: “In the outlying areas at the best of times it is a four or five-day walk to a road head and then another day-and-a-half bus ride to a major centre. The logistics mean the outlying areas are not getting help as fast as the centre because you need helicopters and a lot of money.”

Urging people to donate to the relief appeals, she said money was needed for food, water and clothes.

“They are trying to rebuild every spectrum of living again. The priority is to get things back to normal as quickly as possible,” said Sinead, emphasising once again the need to get water supplies working.

Sinead is hoping to organise a fundraising event in Nenagh in the coming weeks to help the victims of one of the worst natural disasters in the area in a decade. Pakistan and parts of India and Afghanistan were hit by a massive earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale in Kashmir-administered Pakistan on October 8, 2005, with the Pakistani government eventually putting the estimated death toll at just over 73,000.

Fionnuala, whose late father, John, was principal in Nenagh Vocational School, has been in Nepal for a number of years. Previously she worked for a charity dealing with street children and in a Steiner Waldorf school.

Meanwhile, Sinead is looking forward to Fionnuala coming home for a break over the summer.