Father’s telephone vigil for daughter in Nepal chaos

Fiona Lamont and Darren Smith
Fiona Lamont and Darren Smith

A young woman caught up in the Nepal earthquake borrowed a phone to text her parents in South Queensferry to say she and her boyfriend were safe.

Fiona Lamont (26) began travelling with boyfriend Darren Smith (27) in July 2014.

PE Teacher Darren and physiotherapist Fiona were about to set off on the Annapurna Circle when disaster struck.

The pair also managed to phone Mr Lamont and his wife, Diane, on Wednesday morning to tell their families that they are now in Pokhara, where they are deciding what to do next.

They reported that the town appears relatively unscathed. Their plan was to fly to India but that is on hold until flights recommence.

Mr Lamont told the Journal and Gazette: “They really did not know how bad things were until they checked the news in Pokhara where they appear to have internet.

‘‘We knew when they left Kathmandu there would be minimal communication for two weeks but we are relieved to know they are safe and have plenty of food and water.

‘‘It was terrifying until we heard from Fiona. We will not be too surprised if they stay on to help rather than going on to India as planned or returning to the UK.

‘‘We’ve been really lucky. Other families have had much worse news than us.

‘‘We encourage people to donate to celebrate that Darren and Fiona have come out okay.”

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck on Saturday and over 5000 people are known to have died.

This has sparked an international response and there will be a candlelit vigil at Edinburgh City Chambers on the High Street tomorrow (Saturday) at 4pm.

The Lord Provost lodged an emergency motion at Thursday’s full council meeting to draw attention to the crisis.

The City of Edinburgh Council is a partner of the Edinburgh Disaster Response Committee and asks residents to make a donation to Mercy Corps, which has been working in Nepal since 2006.

The phone number for the Nepal Earthquake Appeal is 0370 6060 900 and the link to the Mercy Corps website is http://arturl.com/78jhe