This relief update comes from The Rev. Lewis Lew, Dean of Nepal:
Like many Nepalese I was not prepared for a second quake of this scale on Tuesday afternoon.
I was with Rev Barry Leong my traveling partner, distributing rice and supplies in Godarwari 60km South West of the new epicenter Namche Bazaar when the quake of 7.4 hit Nepal. This new quake added more than 100 to the death toll and 2,000 to the injured list. Bringing the total death toll to more than 8,000 and 20,000 injured. The numbers are expected to rise in the coming days.
This second quake devastated the hope of many Nepalese who thought things are getting better and that the country is on the road to recovery, after the first quake of 7.8 hit on 25 April. Soon after the second quake, I could see in the eyes of the villagers; fear, frustration and in some the anger that so little has been done for them. Once again, they are plunged into great despair. Although the second quake had been smaller in scale, the people looked more affected. There are also more damages to buildings, roads, and to an already weak economy.
All over the place, we could see the people trooping out into the open, to once again set up tents and temporary shelters, getting ready for more after shocks. For many, they were just fearful of being caught in crumbling buildings, as many of the after shocks were equally sizeable to the quake itself, with some measuring up to 6.3. Some buildings that survived the first quake had unfortunately failed the second.
When we finally got back to Kathmandu, we could hear the sound of sirens filled the air. Ambulances from all directions were rushing the injured to the hospitals. We could also see the long lines of injured outside the hospitals. It was like a scene in the war movie; except that this is real. As the aftershocks continued through the day and night, the people began to camp out in the open braving the cold nights.
With 8 million people throughout Nepal affected, 530,000 houses destroyed across 39 of Nepal’s 75 districts, the relief and rebuilding work is mammoth, and it will be for the long haul. Our deanery’s immediate response is to provide food supplies and temporary shelter to help the people cope with the monsoon that will last till mid September. After which, we will focus on helping with the rebuilding in the district of Dhading, where we have more than 50% of our Anglican members. This rebuilding phase could take between 18 months to 3 years. For the district of Dhading, we are looking at rebuilding 18 churches, 18 schools and 8,000 homes. Of the 58 Anglican Churches in Nepal, we have lost more than 20 of our church buildings to the two quakes.
We need your generous support! I am extremely thankful for the support of our partners from other Dioceses, Mission Agencies, our Mission Deaneries and our local parishes. Thank you for giving to the Nepal Relief Fund. To date, we have received a total of $245,000 and we need more to meet the demand of the rebuilding before us.
We are also in need of rebuilding our people emotionally and spiritually. We have lost 78 members, and a faithful pastor, shepherd and servant leader – Pastor Laxman Tamang, of Choke Church. Many from his village are still grieving over the lost. We need God’s mercy and grace as we minister to the members in Dhading, they have lost their loved ones, they have lost their homes, and they have lost the place they call home. More than 95% of all the 18 villages in Dhading suffered total destruction. But I am thankful that they have not lost their faith in God. Members are rallying together to support one another.
Please continue to pray for the current crisis relief work by various agencies that is currently on going in Nepal. Pray for the release of supply of food and shelter to the people, especially in the rural areas. Pray for the people of Nepal, that they will find hope in Christ, and HIS LIGHT that will overcome darkness. Lastly, pray especially for the children in Nepal, according a report in Huffington Post (16 May);
In a sinister new development parents are being urged to protect children from roaming gangs of ruthless human traffickers, who, it is reported, can earn $570 for every girl or boy they supply.
At least 950,000 children in Nepal are in makeshift tents, on the streets or simply out of school and will not be able to return for months unless urgent action is taken.
With all classrooms closed until May 29, in a country, which in recent years has lost 200,000 girls to cross-border trafficking and exploitation, fears are now growing that children consigned to the streets or camps may be easy prey.
I was a little ruffled by the 2nd quake, but I am thankful that God protected us and kept the team safe. I am also very thankful that ACROSS (Anglican Crisis Relief, Outreach & Support, Singapore) was able to deploy a medical team in Nepal from 6th to 13th May. They saw more than 760 patients, and performed 16 procedures in the field. ACROSS will be deploying more teams in the coming days. I feel deeply indebted to them and I hope more can be encouraged to join them in the coming days.
Thank you for standing with us – the Deanery of Nepal, the Anglican Church in Nepal and the people of Nepal, during this extreme trying time.
Rev Lewis Lew
(Dean of Nepal)
17 May 2015