A Montreal woman stranded in Nepal by Saturday's magnitude 7.8 earthquake says there's chaos at the airport as foreigners try to leave the stricken country.
Emilie-Anne Leroux says she was in a taxi on the way to the airport to return to Canada to be with her father who is having heart surgery when the quake hit.
Leroux says it felt like the car "had four flat tires at different moments" and thought it was car trouble until the driver stopped at an open area and let her out.
She says it was shaking so much that everyone was holding onto handrails at the side of the street "because we thought we could fall if we didn't hang on."
Leroux, 28, was in Nepal working for the International Organization for Migration and says other Canadians she knows who were in the country have checked in to say they're safe.
Leroux, who is in Patan, says she's been told she can't get a flight out of Nepal until May 2, but adds she is lucky and has a number of places she can stay while she waits.
"It was complete chaos at the airport," Leroux said.
"Right now there is about a three kilometre queue of Indians who are standing literally nose to the back of the head" waiting for flights promised by India's government, she said.
"There's people camped out even on the grassy spots between the parking zones," she said.
The earthquake centred outside Kathmandu, the capital, was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in over 80 years and has left at least 2,200 dead.
The Canadian government is sending a disaster assessment team to Nepal and is contributing $5-million to relief efforts, Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson's office said late Saturday.
The assessment team was part of the Disaster Assistance Response Team, known as DART, Johanna Quinney, Nicholson's press secretary, said in an e-mail. The military team is designed to deploy on short notice to deal with natural disasters or humanitarian emergencies.
CARE Canada said Sunday that emergency specialists from across the world, including a Canadian, are now on their way to Nepal, and CARE has over 150 staff already in Nepal.
CARE's emergency response co-ordinator in Kathmandu, Santosh Sharma, said staff are putting plans in place to assist up to 75,000 people with temporary shelter, ready-to-eat meals, water purification and toilet construction.
Toronto aid worker Reena Vohra was walking through a narrow alley in Bhaktapur when the quake hit. She ran to a nearby shop entrance, where she watched in horror as the historic city crumbled.
"People were screaming and crying all around me," she said a statement provided by World Vision. "I'm still incredibly shaken up. I've never experienced anything like this."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper released a statement Saturday in which he offered his deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones.
"We mourn with the people of Nepal and India in the aftermath of this terrible natural disaster and offer our help and our prayers," he said.
The Foreign Affairs Department has said there are 388 Canadians registered as being in Nepal, but cautioned that is only an estimate as registration is voluntary.
Among the Canadians in Nepal is former New Brunswick NDP leader Elizabeth Weir, who tweeted Saturday, "Outside Kathmandu and still aftershocks with ground rumbling."
Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Diana Khaddaj said Canadian diplomats in Ottawa and in the region were working with local authorities to help Canadians in the region.
Some families were turning to social media in an effort to track down relatives in the quake-stricken area. A number of people tweeted asking if anyone heard from their loved ones.
This content appears as provided to The Globe by the originating wire service. It has not been edited by Globe staff.