Earthquake 2015 Relief
Updated: Jul 25, 2019
Early on the morning of April 25th (our time), a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, about 50 miles north west of Kathmandu. This location is about a day's travel from Tikapur and Dhangadhi, the main locations for the work we are involved in there. All our dear friends in Nepal are safe. However, the earthquake hit hard and caused massive damage not only in Nepal, but in India and surrounding areas. People have been asked to stay outside as the aftershocks continue. One of our friends said that he can see the fear in the faces of those around him.
The death toll in Nepal has risen to over 3,700 and keeps climbing. The epicenter of the quake was in a mountainous region and rescue workers are still trying to reach that area. People across the country have been sleeping in the streets, afraid to return to their homes due to the many after shocks. In Kathmandu the situation continues to deteriorate. People are living in the streets with limited access to food, water or sanitation facilities. The banks and markets are all closed. The search and rescue efforts continue. There are reports of contaminated water sources all over the country, and many people are getting sick. Others have reported feeling sick, dizzy and nauseous as there are many gasses being released into the atmosphere from all the aftershocks. The weather has not made things any easier. It is cold and raining in many places.
The death toll from the recent earthquakes in Nepal is approaching the 5000 mark and continues to climb. Our key contact on the ground has assembled a team of five others and they are on their way to the Gorkha district to bring relief aid to a village at the epicenter of the quake. The survivors in this village have banded together into three camps in an effort to pool resources and survive. The Gorkha district is in the mountains which makes it hard to get to, even under the best of circumstances. As far as we know, they have not received any outside help yet.
Yesterday our team reached the mountain village of Finam in the Gorkha district with relief supplies. This district is at the epicenter of the quake zone and because of its location in the mountains, it is the hardest to reach. Most of the homes there have collapsed. People are living outside and food is very scarce. When the team started handing out noodles and clothes to the kids, the kids were fighting with each other trying to get the food. This is the first relief aid to make it to these people. The people were so thankful to our team that they were in tears. Our team spent the night there and experienced two strong aftershocks that were both more than 5.0 on the Richter scale. Today the team headed to a Muslim village in the same area to bring relief supplies to them.
May 2 Today, our key contact returned to Gorkha and Dhading with two staff members from a water mission organization to assess the water needs in several villages. The first shipment of equipment from them is scheduled to land in Kathmandu on Tuesday. We are thankful to be partnering with this organization in this effort.
Yesterday, food and tents were delivered to 46 families in Khadka Gaun in the Bhaktapur district, after becoming aware of a very sad situation there. Some help had been delivered to this village, but the higher class families were not sharing the relief aid with the lower class families. The higher class families were using the extra drinking water given to them to irrigate their farmland rather than giving it to the lower class families in need. It has been raining quite a bit since the earthquake, and this is not typical weather for this time of year in Nepal. A local woman told our team members that her family has been living under a make shift tent made of broken rice bags to stay out of the rain. She was very thankful for our help. More relief is planned for another nearby village tomorrow. We have been able to help many families so far with food and tents, and there are many more in need.
Yesterday, another 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck the Kathmandu area. At least 65 people were killed in Nepal and another 1900 were injured. There are also reports of casualties in India and China. The quake triggered many landslides blocking the roads and complicating relief efforts. Already fragile buildings were furthered compromised. A hospital in Kathmandu collapsed leaving some people trapped.
In the three hours after the quake, there were more than six after shocks measuring between 4-6 on the richter scale. In spite of this dangerous situation, our team continued to distribute aid late into the night to students in Kapan and people in Koteshower. Today they returned to Bhaktpur with food and shelter for another 100 families. The generosity of so many people is making these relief missions possible and for that we are incredibly grateful.
With the magnificence of the Himalayas as a backdrop, the bustling city of Kathmandu has always been known for its allure to tourists, trekkers and those searching for a better understanding of the culture of Nepal. In the aftermath of the earthquake, Kathmandu has a new identity, that of a tent city. Some have no homes to return to, others are just afraid to return home as strong aftershocks continue to rumble through the region. Our key contact told us last week, "5.0 Richter scale earthquakes are just normal for us now."