Nepal Earthquake Report
by Phil Long, International President of Global Action
Our team of Indian staff, led by Kiran Sharma and Amit Mondal, traveled for 12 hours and arrived at our “base” in Kathmandu. When they arrived, they spent a good part of the first day meeting with local pastors and church leaders. One of the major concerns was that existing relief efforts going by most organizations were disorganized and many of the people in greatest need were still untouched.
Having worked in Haiti after the earthquake there, I can relate. When something like this happens, chaos ensues and there is no one organization in charge to direct efforts. It usually takes weeks and even months to coordinate the work. Also, because the largest number of people affected live in the capital, Kathmandu, organizations like the Red Cross and the UN concentrated their efforts there. That’s why we decided to concentrate on a few areas that were more remote.
We had originally identified 6 villages where we could help. The next full day after arrival was spent travelling to survey the villages to see what were the greatest needs and where had no one been. They chose two villages that had been extensively damaged, Rana Gaon and Lohla Tol.
The team, which included a doctor and some medical personnel, held several first-aid clinics where they were able to make sure that simple medicines and antibiotics were given and some that had been hurt were bandaged. They assembled relief packets that included water, biscuits, rice, soap, and other hygienic items and these were given to the villagers. We still have volunteers in those areas from churches in Kathmandu that continue to distribute dry goods and water.
Although we had originally intended only to pass out water, medicine, and blankets, we were able to make connections with some damaged hardware stores to do even more. Flexibility is a key! During the initial survey, our team noticed that many of the people in the two villages were staying in temporary tents in the paddy fields. Almost all of them were concerned that because the rainy season is approaching, they would be exposed to the elements, which will cause even more health issues.
Many of the hardware stores had been destroyed and much of the materials covered in rubble, however, we found a store that had been damaged but had galvanized corrugated sheets (tin) that they could sell us. We were able to provide enough materials to build 20 make shift houses for those who had been hit the worst. These people were so happy to receive something solid, especially with the impending rains coming. As a side note, in Lohla village, just one elderly lady is a Christian and she lives alone. Her children have disowned her because of her faith in Jesus.
BUT, because the people are in such a desperate situation and so appreciative of what we did for them, Kiran, Amit, and the team were able to visit most of the “homes” in the area and shared the Gospel with each person and were able to pray for them. We’ll post testimonies as we get them.
It will take years to reconstruct Nepal, but thank God that with your financial help and the help of the team; we were able to create some relief, even if temporarily.