KATHMANDU, Nepal, May 2, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- With the death toll from last weekend's massive earthquake in Nepal rising daily, Gospel for Asia's (GFA) Compassion Services teams continue to supply life-giving relief to victims and obtain important updates on the devastation.
Photo: Pastors and members of GFA-supported churches serve hot meals to Nepal earthquake victims. Hi-resolution version available.
A GFA video report regarding Nepal is available at www.gfa.org/earthquake/nepal.
Various news media reported the death toll has surpassed 5,500, with Prime Minister Sushil Koirala predicting it could rise to 10,000. Hundreds of thousands remain homeless. At least 8 million people have been affected by the earthquake, and at least 1.4 million victims are in need of food and clean water. With electricity also in short supply, officials fear outbreaks of disease.
In one village in eastern Nepal, a GFA-supported pastor reports that 90 percent of the people are affected by the quake, with many people living in their courtyards and cowsheds. Some families from the congregation have been staying in the church because of damage to their homes. Such conditions reflect the situation in the capital of Kathmandu, where thousands are still living outdoors because of fear of aftershocks.
Between 30 and 40 GFA-supported missionaries serving in Uttar Pradesh, an Indian state bordering Nepal, are helping with recovery efforts. Along with pastors, leaders and believers, they have been distributing fresh water, noodles, sugar, rice and dal. One GFA-supported church has provided shelter, food, water and medicine to 400 people, while a church in Narayanthan fed 350. GFA missionaries also distributed relief materials to nearly 66 families in Gokarna Village.
Latest reports indicate 10 GFA-supported churches have been damaged. Many church leaders and members have lost their homes or can no longer safely live in them.
"In the midst of situations like this, with the unbelievable amount of death and destruction, it's so important to remember that God's grace is still present," said Dr. K.P. Yohannan, founder and international director of GFA. "Although the magnitude of this disaster is overwhelming, the Lord is allowing us to show His love to a hurting world."
Despite these efforts, communication with pastors and missionaries living and serving in remote regions has been limited. The government sent helicopters to rescue some people who are trapped, with evacuees describing entire villages being demolished by the 7.8-magnitude quake. One of the leaders on the field, Narayan Sharma, said people have felt more than 100 aftershocks since the quake, with rain in between them making life more painful.
Gospel for Asia has worked in Nepal for more than 25 years. It supports 450 churches, 20 Bridge of Hope children centers and Bible schools throughout the country.
For decades, the ministry has also provided disaster relief throughout South Asia when tragedy strikes areas it serves, such as after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Yohannan said that while people living on the other side of the world can feel helpless during times of crisis, they can still make a difference by helping through recovery organizations and praying for those who have lost loved ones or homes, or who have suffered injuries in the devastation.
"We can also pray for the safety, strength and grace for missionaries ministering to the suffering," he said. "Pray for our Compassion Services teams as they minister to earthquake victims, for the energy and endurance of rescue workers as they search for more survivors. Pray, too, for God's protection over our pastors, leaders, missionaries and believers."
More information about GFA's disaster recovery efforts in Nepal can be obtained at www.gfa.org/earthquake/nepal.
Gospel for Asia (www.gfa.org) is a mission organization sharing the love of Jesus across South Asia.
To schedule an interview with a GFA representative, contact our Broadcasting Department at +1 972 300 3379 firstname.lastname@example.org