Helpers get ready for reconstruction in Nepal

Following the devastating earthquake in Nepal, acute emergency efforts by international organizations are already in full swing. In the meantime, the aid agencies and District Churches of the New Apostolic Church are getting ready to do their part with the next big wave of help, namely the reconstruction effort.

It was the most serious earthquake the region has seen in 80 years. On 25 April 2015, Nepal was rocked by a quake with a magnitude of 7.8. Hundreds of aftershocks followed—some of them with a magnitude as high as 6.7—and only subsided on 2 May at a magnitude of 5.0.

The effects were catastrophic, according to reports from the United Nations: the authorities are estimating a death toll of some 7,400 people, and have put the number of injured at around 14,400. However, it has still not been possible to reach the most remote regions of the country. According to the latest assessments, as many as 200.000 homes have been destroyed, but state authorities are estimating the number of destroyed homes could climb as high as 500,000. For example, some eight million people are now affected by homelessness and food shortages.

Initial reports from our members

There are also New Apostolic members among the victims of this tragedy, although no deaths have been reported so far. Nevertheless, there are wounded. And beyond that, many have lost their homes. Nepalese Evangelist Shrestha reports on this to the responsible Church office in Canada. He has visited the congregations in Dharkhola and Sipokhare in the mountainous eastern regions of the country. Up to 90 per cent of the homes have been destroyed and damaged, as have some Church buildings. While there, Evangelist Amit Shrestha brought the affected families some intermediate emergency supplies, primarily in the form of foodstuffs, blankets, and drinking water.

In addition to medicines and articles of hygiene, it is precisely these kinds of emergency supplies that are most urgently needed at the moment—and on a large scale to boot: aid organizations such as the International Red Cross and Welthungerhilfe have already brought a good 2,200 tonnes of foodstuffs to Nepal. But that is only a fraction of what is needed. The United Nations estimates that the equivalent of 316 million US-dollars will be needed for these basic supplies alone.

Ready to go in the second line of defence

"Delivering this immediate aid will be an incredibly difficult task," says District Evangelist Jörg Leske of NAK-karitativ. This will require teams of highly skilled specialists, which far surpasses the capacity of many aid organizations of comparable size. "For this reason we are concentrating on the next phase of aid measures, namely the reconstruction effort."

That is exactly how Stefan Heinzelmann, who is responsible for the charitable involvement of the NAC USA in the headquarters of the District Church, sees it: "We are taking a very close look at how we can best help, given our means." And then the idea is to look for a partner, be it among the New Apostolic institutions directly on the ground, or among the international aid organizations.

Preliminary operations and collection campaigns are in progress

Preliminary operations for providing this kind of aid to Nepal are already underway in the New Apostolic Church. The District Church of Canada, which serves our approximately 1,000 members in the Asian country, has long been in contact with NAK-karitativ. The possible aid applications are now being explored.

"The NAK-Humanitas foundation of Switzerland is currently supporting projects for Nepal," explains Managing Director Andreas Grossglauser. Applications for aid are presently being reviewed by the foundation's board of directors, and decisions will be made at its next meeting.

In the meantime, Canada, the USA, and NAK-karitativ have already launched collection drives. But as the District Church of Canada clearly states on its website, members can do even more: "Please pray for those who are suffering from this disaster."

Other reports and donation drives: Canada (English), USA (English), NAK-karitativ (German)

A brief report on the situation in Nepal: United Nations (English)

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Andreas Rother
Nepal, Aid agencies, Social commitment