Mother feared the worst
When Nichola Ireland saw TV news reports of the devastation in Nepal, she feared the worst.
"I almost physically collapsed," the Auckland woman said.
Her daughter Penelope, 23, was travelling around Kathmandu with boyfriend Will Elliot, 24, at the time of the quake.
"I was having quite a big panic at home, just wondering what to do ... my husband, Andrew, was saying she'll be okay, she'd get through somehow."
Finally, 45 minutes later, a message from Penelope arrived: the couple (pictured) were safe.
They had been heading back to Kathmandu from a trek along the Manaslu Circuit in the Himalayas when the quake struck shortly before they could reach the city.
"At that point, there was a large amount of rocks coming down, and a slip had come down in front of their vehicle which meant they couldn't get through for quite a while," Mrs Ireland said.
Back in Kathmandu, however, the environment was more dangerous as buildings fell down. She was actually relieved they hadn't got any further, "as they had got off relatively well".
At first, the couple feared they had been stranded without passports and headed to the Australian embassy. But they soon found the Kathmandu guest house in which they'd left their documents had survived the quake intact, despite the destruction around it.
Mrs Ireland wasn't sure for how much longer the pair would remain in the city.
"They are waiting to see what will happen and are not sure what they are going to do - it seems there are a lot of other people from overseas who are also stuck and can't fly out."
Students 'drop, cover, hold
'Twenty-six students and four teachers from St Margaret's College, in Christchurch, who are on a visit to Nepal, have been reported as safe.
Executive principal Gillian Simpson said she was waiting for road and air evacuation details from World Challenge, which has a guide with each of the two groups of students, as well as staff in Nepal.
"They are safe and have food and water and support from the locals and they have good teachers with them," said Mrs Simpson.
Students put their experience gained in the Christchurch earthquake to good use, helping the locals to "drop, cover and hold", she said.
"They have certainly been through a lot and we don't know whether that's harder for them or easier but they are doing well and we are lucky to have had plenty of contact with them."
The students went to Nepal with the aim of mixing trekking with service to the local people. One group was in the trekking phase near Pokhara and the other had been 40km from Kathmandu helping to build a school.
Paihia pair on bus trip
A Northland couple caught off guard by a powerful earthquake in Nepal while travelling in a bus managed to make their way back to their hostel in the midst of falling homes and rocks.
Kevin and Anne Gray of Paihia left for the Nepalese capital Kathmandu two weeks ago to volunteer at an orphanage and a childcare centre, but expect they may have to return to New Zealand now.
The Northern Advocate managed to briefly speak to Ms Gray, who said she was among a group coming back to their hostel in Kathmandu from the Chitwan National Park, about 146km west of the capital city, when the earthquake struck.
"We stopped for a toilet break and that's when the quake shook the bus. We initially stayed inside then got out and we could see the homes and rocks falling down," she said.
"We managed to get a taxi and our trip back to the hostel took us six hours when it usually is an hour-long ride."
The couple left their hostel to stay in another place nearby.
Protected by door frame
Kerikeri woman Lucy Dunn said she was on the fourth floor of her hotel in Pokhara when the "absolutely massive" quake hit.
She hiked down from base camp on Thursday and said it was lucky she had reached the village of Pokhara where there was no real visible damage.
Friends she had hiked with were in Kathmandu sleeping in a tent because the roof of their hotel had collapsed, she said.
"We hid in a door frame after realising we were maybe too high up to get down. When it slowed we grabbed our stuff and ran down. Everyone was out on the streets.
"We didn't go back into our hotel until night time and have slept in the lobby by the door all night. [We've] not slept a wink actually but lay here for a quick escape in case."
Home loss adds to misery
A Nepalese Kiwi whose family survived yesterday's deadly earthquake says homelessness is compounding misery for quake survivors in the country. New Zealand Nepal Society president Uddhav Adhikary said his daughter-in-law Sujata, granddaughter Aarna, 3, and grandson Aarbha, 6 months, were in Kathmandu having lunch when the quake struck. "They were inside. When they [felt] it, they came out."
Mr Adhikary said it was their first earthquake experience.
The family members went to Nepal from New Zealand three months ago. When Mr Adhikary most recently spoke to them, they were outside, among the many Nepalese avoiding unsteady or damaged buildings.
Only after a harrowing wait and many thwarted attempts to make contact from Auckland did he learn his relatives were safe.
Mr Adhikary said people worldwide were calling home to check on the safety of loved ones, overloading phone networks.
"I tried about 20 times to get one family member in contact," he said.
"Some of the lines are working. Some are not working."
Several people have contacted the Herald voicing anxiety for loved ones in Nepal, either on holiday or working in the development or aid sectors, whom they had not yet been able to reach.
Mr Adhikary estimated there were about 1200 Nepalese, including students, in New Zealand.
He understood all Nepalese Kiwis were safe but said there was a shortage of tents and medicine in Nepal.
There were also concerns about more inclement weather approaching. He said it rained last night and thunderstorms were expected.
"At this moment medical facilities [are needed] because many people are outside and they can't go inside the houses."
He hoped the global community would donate tents to help address homelessness.
Mr Adhikary said the quake had also compromised water supplies in Kathmandu.
He said he was proud of his son Ashish, who expected to go to Nepal next week to help.
Mr Adhikary said New Zealand and Nepal had a special and positive relationship. He advised Kiwis who wanted to help to donate to established charities such as Oxfam or the Red Cross.
Looking for loved ones
• New Zealanders looking for relatives in Nepal can register names confidentially on the Red Cross website, and report relatives as safe and well after they have made contact, at: familylinks.icrc.org/nepal-earthquake/en/Pages/Home.aspx
• Google is also offering its free Person Finder service at google.org/personfinder/2015-nepal-earthquake