While as many as 1000 Europeans are still reported missing after the massive earthquake that ripped through Nepal on April 25, four Portuguese mountain-climbers are lucky enough to be on their way home, safe and sound.
The group escaped injury despite being 5500 metres up in the Himalayas when the quake struck.
Pedro Guedes, Rodrigo Simões, Luís Almeida and João Gonçalo Silva were all on a mission to reach the summit of Jomson Himal, a 6335 metre peak, which they had to abandon as the quake set off avalanches and rockfalls.
All practised climbers, they began their journey back to Portugal from Katmandu today (Saturday), and are expected to arrive in Lisbon at 11.30am on Sunday.
The four are among around 20 Portuguese known to have been in Nepal at the time the of the quake.
According to Expresso, one of the 20 was Algarvian adventurer Heli Camarinha, who arrived in Nepal on the eve of the disaster and has thrown himself into the ongoing relief effort.
Twenty-eight-year-old Heli told the paper that he means to stay in the area for at least three weeks, concentrating on volunteer work in outlying villages.
“We’re focused essentially on recovering food and other resources that will serve as a reserve for the coming months and which are now buried in the middle of all the rubble”.
Heli explained that “for most Nepalese, richness is in the relationship with people, independent in their belief system. That is something that has become so clear in the generous, simple and happy way they behave with us in the middle of all this destruction”.
“At the end of the day, it is not us that are helping them, but they who are giving us a real lesson in life”.
Meantime, aftershocks continue to be registered in Portugal, with a magnitude 3 on the Richter Scale having been felt last night in Braga. No injuries or damage was reported.