Tackling the Earthquake’s aftermath

by Jo Duckles

Christian Aid’s local partners are distributing vital emergency supplies in the worst affected areas of Gorkha and Kathmandu Valley. Here, in the village of Kirtipur, a woman receives blankets and food. Photos: Christian Aid/Sam Spickett

Christian Aid’s local partners are distributing vital emergency supplies in the worst affected areas of Gorkha and Kathmandu Valley. Here, in the village of Kirtipur, a woman receives blankets and food. Photos: Christian Aid/Sam Spickett

 

IMAGINE living with the uncertainty of almost daily earthquakes of up to five on the Richter scale in the weeks after two devastating quakes have destroyed

Hundreds of thousands of people continue to sleep outdoors, too scared to return to their shattered homes for fear of aftershocks. Photos: Christian Aid/Sam Spickett

Hundreds of thousands of people continue to sleep outdoors, too scared to return to their shattered homes for fear of aftershocks. Photos: Christian Aid/Sam Spickett

your town or village.
That is what Nepalese people are dealing with as they try and rebuild their homes and lives. “The ‘tremors’ are what most countries would class as full earthquakes,” says Sarah Thurley, the grants and projects manager from the Amersham based ROPE charity.

Sarah, who is set to travel to Nepal and has had links with the country since the early 1990s, said: “There have been more than 450 earthquakes in all, that were 4.5 to 5.5 in magnitude. There were the two big earthquakes and then people have been living with the smaller ones every day. The whole area was so unsettled.”

Sarah has friends who are heading up relief work through the Pokhara Christian Community. A report from ROPE states that in many villages, 80 per cent of houses have been damaged. “People are terrified and children who were in school when the second quake hit, ran out in panic.”

Volunteers have packed and sent trucks to 4,311 houses, delivering rice, lentils, sugar, noodles, spices, mattresses, soap, blankets, rehydration salts and tents. A team of medics responded to a call from a hospital and treated 1,200 people in four days. In Pokhara £35,000 has already been raised.

Paul Valentin, the International Director of Christian Aid, who lives in Oxford, dropped in to Diocesan Church House to update us on what the agency is doing to help. Christian Aid responded from its office in Delhi, through a link up with regional partners, giving an immediate grant from its unrestricted resources. They linked up with the Lutheran World Federation and Danish Church Aid which works under the Global Act Alliance. “We have been working flat out since the earthquake hit.” Christian Aid has helped provide 100,000 people with shelter, which Paul says is a big achievement. He said it is money from Christian Aid Week collections, often in Anglican churches that helps the agency to be able to step in to a crisis situation. Funding is also available from the Disasters Emergency Committee. “People have been generous and we have money to work with for the next three years. We haven’t had to do very much to prompt churches to give. In my experience they are always very generous in a disaster situation. We have a core of loyal supporters who are prepared to step up.” The rebuilding projects are ongoing and Paul will be visiting Nepal in September. “I’ll be able to see the work that’s being done and thank the teams who are doing the relief work to give them moral support,” he added.

Carol Wills, who is heavily involved in Oxford’s Fairtrade movement, had recently met Nepalese Fair Trade representatives at the Fair Trade World Conference. “Something this sensational hits the news for a week or two and then dies down as something else happens.
“The job of reconstruction is going to take years and years,” said Carol, who was aware that buildings that had been part of the country’s culture and tradition, and attracted tourists had been destroyed. “The job of reconstruction is absolutely vast so the Nepalese Fairtraders are doing their bit. I would urge you that if you are going to buy Fairtrade, buy Nepalese products. Buy things like the lovely pashmina shawls that come from Nepal.”

To donate to the Nepal appeals go to:
www.christianaid.org.uk/emergencies/current/nepal-earthquake-appeal/

www.rope.org.uk where you will also find details of a prayer campaign and anglicanalliance.org/news/20226/update-from-nepal-after-recent-earthquakes

This is an older post. Please note that the information may not be accurate anymore.