Earthquake in Nepal

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on the morning of April 25, causing severe damage and loss of life across the small nation. Episcopal Relief & Development will help meet urgent needs such as food, clean water and shelter, as well as support for assessment and search and rescue teams in the initial phase of the disaster, through the ACT Alliance in Nepal and with partners in surrounding areas including northern India and southwest China.

Episcopal Relief & Development Web StatementApril 27, 2015

Episcopal Relief & Development is working with the ecumenical ACT Alliance in Nepal and local partners in northern India and southwest China regarding urgent needs and assessment efforts following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck near Kathmandu on the morning of April 25.

The earthquake was centered east of Nepal’s capital, near the town of Pokhara, though the initial quake and subsequent aftershocks were felt as far away as Pakistan, more than 800 miles away.  The death toll reported late April 27 exceeds 3,900, including 17 who died in an avalanche on Mt. Everest, with the number expected to rise over the coming days.  Due to the rough terrain and isolated nature of communities in Nepal and across the Himalayas, search and rescue efforts are being carried out on foot and by helicopter.  Communications are still down across wide areas of the region, further hampering assessment and rescue efforts.

“The mountain communities that we suspect are in most need of help are also the hardest to get to, accessible only by foot under normal circumstances,” said Nagulan Nesiah, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Senior Program Officer for Disaster Response and Risk Reduction.  “Getting assessment teams there to gather information will be a challenge, as will transporting the relief supplies that are needed so urgently.”

Responding to immediate needs for food, clean water and shelter, as well as the need for accurate information through on-the-ground assessment, Episcopal Relief & Development will support ACT Alliance efforts implemented through a partner office in Kathmandu.  The ACT Alliance works in coordination with major international groups such as UN OCHA to maximize efficiency and impact of aid, mobilizing local networks to reach remote areas.

Episcopal Relief & Development is in contact with the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia regarding support for the work of the Deanery of Nepal, which is part of the Diocese of Singapore.  The organization may also support other partners in the region including CASA, the humanitarian arm of the National Council of Churches in India, and the Amity Foundation, an independent Christian organization in China.

“It is a frightening time, with so many homes and buildings already destroyed and the threat of aftershocks causing others to collapse,” said Abagail Nelson, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Senior Vice President of Programs.  “People need spiritual support as they try to keep their families safe, or find and save those who are missing.  We urge prayers for all those impacted by the quake, and for those who are bringing relief, support and encouragement to people in need.”

Please donate to the Nepal Earthquake Response Fund to enable Episcopal Relief & Development to support its partners’ emergency relief efforts and on-the-ground assessment in the region.

April 25, 2015

A massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, centered between the capital, Kathmandu, and the city of Pokhara. At least 876 people are known to have died, and many more may be trapped under rubble.

According to reports, tremors were felt across the region, with further loss of life in India, Bangladesh and on Mount Everest, where an avalanche killed eight.

The Nepalese government has declared a state of emergency in the affected areas.

Mobile phones and other communications networks have been disrupted, hampering efforts to gain information from the

area closest to the epicenter of the quake.

Damage is also reported at Kathmandu’s airport, which may impact relief operations.

“Rescuers are digging through the rubble of collapsed buildings in the capital trying to reach survivors,” reports the BBC.

Episcopal Relief & Development urges prayers at this time for all those impacted, and for the search and rescue teams who are working to save lives.  Please also pray for the country of Nepal as it copes with the loss of life and destruction of homes, businesses and religious sites.

A Prayer for First Responders

Blessed are you, Lord, God of mercy, who through your Son gave us a marvelous example of charity and the great commandment of love for one another. Send down your blessings on these your servants, who so generously devote themselves to helping others. Grant them courage when they are afraid, wisdom when they must make quick decisions, strength when they are weary, and compassion in all their work. When the alarm sounds and they are called to aid both friend and stranger, let them faithfully serve you in their neighbor. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

— Adapted from the Book of Blessings, #587, by Diana Macalintal

To support disaster response where it is most needed, please donate to the Disaster Response Fund.