Briefing from Val Inchley – 2nd May 2015
Latest figures are: death toll now over 6,600 and injuries over 14,000, 600,000 houses destroyed or damaged, 8 million people affected of whom 2m need food, shelter & meds for at least 3 months.
But at last the rescue efforts are being directed to the epicentre area around Gorkha. Earlier, Kathmandu and Everest were targeted. Local people in village areas like Gorkha especially are frustrated and angry that they have not received any help. They blame the govt. but this is not wholly fair. Govt folks too have homes and families to help – maybe their houses are damaged, maybe their offices are affected, maybe relatives are missing and they themselves are undoubtedly traumatised. Add to that the fact that probably rescuing folks on Everest was a priority as there was no local food or way to walk out and climbers and sherpas were in freezing temperatures. Also Everest is iconic for Nepal so maybe that has helped the fund-raising!? The Ktm-Pkr road was blocked – cracked in many places in the valley and many landslides and anyway there is no road to many of the places in the epicentre area in the north of Gorkha. Then the weather was against them. One Nepali Col., however, said that in addition to looking at the stats of people who were killed or injured we should also consider how many have been helped. In one day one helicopter flew 68 missions and rescued 370 people. In the last couple of days, 3-4 people have been miraculously dug out of the rubble in Ktm. I was especially interested in one of them who had been trapped by his leg for 80 hours and had to drink his own urine. He was a would-be migrant off to Dubai, but he’s had to have his leg amputated. Now the govt does not have enough helicopters and people are beginning to fight over rescue places and supplies.
However the INF website says:
The Situation in Gorkha [& Dhading]– 30 Apr
The need for food and other non-food items is enormous. After our team arrived in the area [Monday, 27.4.15] they heard many confirmed reports of countless villages [ranging from 50 to 1500 residents], where 70-90% of dwellings have been completely destroyed. The simple dwellings have either collapsed or been swept away by landslides, taking with them not only those who were inside [mainly children and the elderly, as those of working age were in the fields] but food supplies that are typically kept in the home.
INF is working with local partners and other NGOs to support the relief effort and help families to simply go on living. Provision will include tents, food and water purification kits, or whatever else is needed to help people survive and stay safe.
Food, Blankets and Tents for Dhading [the district just to the east of Gorkha.] – 1 May
Three INF trucks delivered 12.5 tonnes of food – enough for 500 households, 1,300 blankets, 200 tents and 500 sleeping mats to families affected by the earthquake in Dhading district today. Further deliveries are to follow as part of INF’s emergency response strategy which is initially focused on keeping affected families alive and safe. 70,000 households have been affected in the Dhading district including 20,000 which have been completely destroyed and 50,000 sustaining substantial damage.
Local authorities have requested a further 10,000 tents, more blankets and staple foods as these have become the most significant areas of need. Tents, blankets and staple foods are now in shortage in Pokhara, Butwal, Chitwan, Nepalgunj and even Delhi. Additionally, local authorities have requested rehydration powder, super flour and chlorine for water purification. INF staff and volunteers are working long hours to source these items and to pack and to load trucks. Schools are temporarily closed in Nepal and many young people from local churches and youth groups continue to offer their much needed support.
Other news includes:
- My Nepali campus teacher, Dr Balaram Aryal, is OK.
- For those who know it, one of our favourite eating places, Singma Restaurant, has been badly damaged, but my friend Jason and family incl. the Nepali kids they look after, are all OK.
- My latest book (on the Nepali Diaspora) was published by EKTA who have a big bookshop in Kathmandu. Their building was badly damaged – it’s very near the river – but Mr Timothy & family are OK.
- Ps Joseph from Mirik in Darjeeling area of India, which also suffered a big quake, is also safe.
- Life is pretty well normal in Surkhet. Tansen Hospital (UMN) is apparently OK. Anandaban Leprosy Hospital is OK although staff quarters have been destroyed – staff OK. Two villages in that part of the Ktm Valley are also known to be very badly affected – Chapagaun and Harrisiddhi nr Godavari. In fact many old Newari villages with traditional 4-storey houses have been flattened in the whole area around Ktm. Apparently Patan Hospital (in Ktm) had a good contingency plan and it worked well.
- The INF team in Ktm and at least some in Pkr are OK but stressed and exhausted, working around the clock to communicate, give interviews on radio & TV, liaise, visit & assess, obtain & distribute emergency aid items etc. along with having to cope with living in the ravaged country.
- So also the INF team in the UK office in Birmingham who have been working around the clock to coordinate matters with Nepal and fund-raise.
- I have just seen that there has been yet another quake in the Gorkha area – around 5.1.
- Some strange news has also emerged – some saddening and some bizarre. Desperate people beginning to fight over places on buses or planes out ot Ktm or the country. Also scrambling for supplies when trucks arrive or trying to get helicopter seats out. All understandable. Pakistan sent some food supplies but some contained beef (but Hindus do not eat beef as cows are sacred: this did not nothing to endear Pak to Nep!) Was this a mistake or deliberate? Relief supplies held up in Nepal customs apparently because of enforcing usual rules (as well as the amounts), but also some supplies are stupid like tuna & mayonnaise! What are needed are tents, tarpaulins and basic food like grains (esp rice), alt & sugar. Some ‘Christians’ (? from where) have sent a consignment of (English) Bibles apparently on the grounds that spiritual salvation is more important than anything else: this made us feel sick. Not good as some Indian Hindus have picked up on this. And perhaps the most serious, is the news that the Govt. of Nepal have told all the banks that they have to hand over all funds in designated earthquake accounts to be used by the Govt. Not sure this is legal (!) and it could affect a lot of churches or Christian organisations who have been collecting aid and would distribute it themselves in local areas – perhaps not so efficiently but with more love & personal care attached.
Prayers for Nepal
Thank you for continuing to pray. Your prayers are making a difference.
We are now almost a week on from the devastating earthquake in Nepal and many people are asking how they can involve their churches. There are some very specific points below which will help you to pray, and at the end of this email there is a link to a package of resources such as posters and videos which you might find useful.
Praise God for the resilience, resourcefulness and competence of the Nepali people. Communities are pulling together to help themselves. Pray that aid organisations will be able to assist them as they do this.
Praise God that Kathmandu’s Patan Hospital had a well-practiced contingency plan which worked well. Give praise too that they were impressively able to meet the inundation of needs without requiring any foreign help.
Praise God for the proactivity and reach of the local churches which have been playing a key role in helping communities to recover, both physically and emotionally. They have been providing shelter, food and water to believers and non-believers in Kathmandu and surrounding villages.
Thousands have been devastated by grief and loss. Pray for them as they mourn.
Pray that the God of all comfort would be near, giving them peace and hope.
Pray that Christians would be resourced with wisdom and strength as they care for those that are suffering.
Pray that God would reveal Himself to Nepalis as the one true Living God who hears them.
The earthquake has disproportionately affected women, children, the elderly and the sick, because a huge proportion of men are migrant workers in India and elsewhere. Pray for wisdom for INF as they develop a training programme that will help women be Christ’s representatives and ensure the needs of these vulnerable people are met
Tens of thousands of people have been injured. Pray for speedy medical attention so that conditions don’t worsen, particularly in remote villages that are several days’ walks from health posts.
Pray for the long-term rehabilitation of spinal cord and crushing injuries and that people in remote villages would have access to care [whether through visiting medical camps run by INF and others, or being transported to rehabilitation hospitals like INF’s Green Pastures Hospital].
Pray for the Nepalese Government. Decades of political instability [10 year civil war, followed by inability to pass a Constitution] has left a vacuum of effective governance.
Pray for Government officials who may also be traumatised by the earthquake, having lost homes and family members.
Pray for other organisations such as Red Cross, MSF, UNICEF and World Vision as they deliver first response disaster relief.
Things beginning to normalise with electricity returning sporadically. Pray for continuing access to water. As seismic activity tapers out, pray for the security of families returning to their homes.
Pray for wisdom for the INF medical teams as they try to discern what areas they are most needed in and that don’t already have help. Pray especially for Eka Dev, the coordinator.
INF has been trying to contact clients living in affected areas, many of whom have lost houses. INF has also been liaising with local hospitals with a view to providing specialist services to those with spinal cord and other disabling injuries. Pray for wisdom for INF as they plan for a short and long term response.
There are reports that entire villages in the hills are on the move to relocate to more urbanised areas such as Pokhara. Pray for the Pokhara Christian community as they respond to the influx. Pray that they can work alongside the Government to help settle families in the coming weeks.
Before the earthquake, swine flu had broken out in Jajakot. Pray for the INF team that arrived there on Wednesday to assist with medical treatment.
Landslides have decimated 80% of many remote villages, such as Pulsang. Accessibility to these villages has been hampered by bad weather, obstructed roads, and the limited number of helicopters. Pray for continuing effective coordination between the local authorities, military and rescue teams.
INF staff and church volunteers prepared food packages for 500 households, with blankets and tents, and sent them on trucks to Dhading. Pray they would reach those who need it most. Pray for safety on the roads, and wisdom in liaising with local authorities.
NGO staff [Nepali and expatriates]
Thank God for effective coordination between NGOs. Pray that this would continue into the next phases of rebuild.
Many are dealing with physical and emotional exhaustion. Pray for protection of emotional and mental health as they serve.
Praise God for their mutual care of one another.
Pray for peace that passes understanding that all would know that even though the world is rocking, God has us in His hands.
Pray that as the adrenaline leaves their system, they would be calm and focused.
Thank you again for your prayers.
Christian Resources INF/UK