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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) issues appeal for Nepal

Thousands dead and injured in powerful 7.8 earthquake.

April 28, 2015

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25 and is considered the worst in more than 80 years.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25 and is considered the worst in more than 80 years. —Adna Abidi

LOUISVILLE

The death toll from this past weekend’s devastating earthquake in Nepal continues to rise, closing in on 4,500. Rescue and recovery efforts are being hampered by the damage from collapsed buildings, landslides and aftershocks. Some villages and small communities have been virtually wiped out by the 7.8 magnitude quake, the worst in more than 80 years according to government officials. 

The government of Nepal has declared a state of emergency, saying rescuers are still not able to reach some villages with needed food, water, blankets and medicine. Gathering information from the areas is a particular challenge. Ground transportation is hampered by debris in the roadways, and there are few helicopters to transport goods. 

The quake struck on April 25 just west of the Nepali capital of Kathmandu and caused avalanches around Mount Everest. At least 20 hikers are known to have died, and dozens more injured, when an Everest basecamp was partially buried, according to government officials. 

“Forty of the 75 districts in Nepal have been affected, some of them severely, especially in the central and hilly regions,” said Nirmal Singh, head of emergency for CASA (Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action). “Hospitals are near the breaking point with a rush of the injured, and some families lost more than one member in the calamity.” 

Singh told Presbyterian Disaster Assistance staff that the powerful aftershocks on Sunday sent people scurrying into open fields, streets and school buildings. One tremor, he said, lasted more than 30 seconds and could be felt in India and Bhutan. 

“Rescuers have been hunting for survivors under heaps of debris with bare hands as well as with heavy equipment, though the efforts have been hampered by fresh tremors, thunderstorms and snowfall in the mountain ranges,” he added. “With electric poles and lines uprooted, most parts of the country have no electricity, and authorities say the situation is likely to continue for the next few days.” 

Meantime, PDA is working with its partner in the region, ACT Alliance, whose members are already on the ground in Nepal, to meet immediate needs such as food, water and other supplies. 

“As long-term recovery plans are developed, PDA will accompany and further financially support our partners in the area to ensure a comprehensive recovery is sustained,” said Laurie Kraus, PDA coordinator. 

Financial support for relief efforts can be designated to DR999999 with reference to Nepal. Gifts can be made online, by phoning 800-872-3283 weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. EDT, by mailing a check to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), PO Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.

  1. Bruce - Presbyterian Disaster Assistance sent me the following information on the nature of the short and long-term relief efforts. ----- Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is responding to immediate needs through ACT Alliance. One Great Hour of Sharing funds have been provided assist local ACT partners, who were already present in Nepal prior to the earthquake, in the distribution of food, shelter and clean water in earthquake-impacted areas. Needs assessments are ongoing. PDA is committed to the long-term response and is exploring further opportunities for action through other partners in the region, including mission partners in India and Indonesia who are offering assistance. ----- Please also see PDA website at: http://pcusa.org/pda

    by

    PC(USA) Staff

    May 5, 2015

  2. A question that has come up from several members here in Oregon: if we give money designated for relief in Nepal, how specifically will the money be used? I.e. what are the priorities, short and long term, at this point? I believe that the question is asked sincerely, and not cynically. Thanks for any help you could offer to help answer this question. t

    by Bruce Cameron

    May 5, 2015

  3. I spent some time in Nepal in mission, getting to know the church leaders there and visiting several of the villages and hospitals. Needless to say, my heart is heavy over this...I know the people and something of the terrain, so if you get to a point of looking to send a team, I feel the Spirit's urging that I make myself available, so please contact me. In the meantime, I'm coordinating efforts locally (I'm pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church, Panama City, Florida Presbytery) to send funding to the above reference.

    by Gary D. Cecil

    May 1, 2015