Major Earthquake Hits Nepal: CRS and Caritas Mobilizing Response
April 27, 2015 by Jim Stipe
Updated April 28, 2015 at 11:20 am
Reports from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) emergency personnel in Kathmandu tell of cold rain making life miserable for the tens of thousands who have been living outside in fear of continuing aftershocks since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal Saturday.
“The situation is getting critical with the rain and cold winds,” said Kushal Neogy, a member of the CRS India staff who was in Nepal during the earthquake and has stayed to help with relief efforts. “It slows down the rescue and relief operation and makes life difficult for those living on the street or in open fields.”
CRS will bring help to many of those people soon as thousands of tarpaulins and other shelter materials are on their way overland from neighboring India where they were pre-positioned because the area is subject to earthquakes and severe flooding. Thousands more tarpaulins are being flown from a distribution center in Dubai.
Neogy and about 20 more CRS emergency specialists are now in Nepal or on the way. They are working with Caritas Nepal, alongside staff from Caritas agencies around the world, including the United Kingdom, India, Australia, Germany, Austria, and others. CRS has an immediate goal of helping 10,000 families with emergency shelter, blankets, water treatment kits, and hygiene kits. CRS will help many more people as it assesses the needs and coordinates with other aid agencies.
Caritas Nepal has been able to help some people, many who have taken refuge at a Catholic Church.
“We are not feeling safe inside the house, but feeling more safe outside, under this tent in the Assumption Church and it is near our house,” one them, Renuka Magdalene Thakuri, told Caritas Australia. “We feel save in the church premise and thankful to Caritas Nepal for the tent.”
“We hope to go back to our house soon, but are hesitating because of the aftershocks,” the 54-year-old said. “We have been here for two days, we have food and water, but shops and markets are closed. We are managing somehow though.”
Generous CRS donors have pledged more than a half million dollars to help victims of this disaster which struck one of the poorest countries in the world. The official death toll is now over 5,000 and that is expected to rise significantly as relief workers reach rural villages now cut off by landslides.
Prayer for the People of Nepal
We pray for all those affected by the earthquake in Nepal as we offer the words of the psalmist, “Be strong and take heart, all who hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:25).
May those who are paralyzed by fear … Be strong and take heart
May those who have lost or are still searching for loved ones … Be strong and take heart
May those who remain trapped under rubble … Be strong and take heart
May those rescue workers who provide relief and recovery … Be strong and take heart
May those who are moved with compassion to help … Be strong and take heart
God, whose love knows no bounds, fill all those who suffer with your comfort and peace. We ask all this through Christ, our Lord. Amen