GREATEST ENEMY RELIEF WORKERS FACE AFTER LATEST QUAKE IS FEAR
KATHMANDU, Nepal – Gospel for Asia Compassion Service Teams in India are assessing the destruction caused by a 7.3-magnitude earthquake yesterday that killed at least 37 people and injured more than 1,100. Relief workers right away began responding to immediate needs by providing medical care and relief supplies, as well as continuing to offer crisis counseling and prayers for the victims. They are also working to determine damage to churches, Bible schools and children’s centers.
Supported by Gospel for Asia, teams from Believers Church were already in Nepal to deliver food, clothing and other supplies to victims of an April 25 quake. The Associated Press reported the earlier disaster killed more than 8,150 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. In addition to the 37 victims today, the news service said the quake killed 16 people in India and one in Tibet.
Raahi, a Gospel for Asia photojournalist, said his team had stopped for a rest while driving to a rural area to deliver relief supplies when yesterday’s earthquake struck, just as they were getting out of their car. The tremor prompted screams from people and sent many scrambling for the first available open space.
“People were screaming and crying,” he said. “Kathmandu now looks like a ghost town, with only 25 percent of the shops remaining open. People are afraid to enter any buildings. Restaurants are mostly closed. Many have stopped coming into Kathmandu to work. They are too afraid.”
Many people will be sleeping outside in Kathmandu, including the Gospel for Asia-supported relief workers who gave away the last of their temporary relief tents earlier today.
“There is fear among everyone,” Raahi said. “You can just feel it. People who have already lost so much are beginning to lose hope. Tomorrow we will continue on with relief work. Pray that we can get to our destination safely.”
Gospel for Asia has worked in Nepal for more than 25 years. 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.
Gospel for Asia supports 450 churches, 20 Bridge of Hope children centers and Bible schools in Nepal. Some were destroyed or damaged by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake in April, Nepal’s worst in 80 years. Many church leaders and members lost their homes or can no longer safely live in them.
More information about Gospel for Asia’s disaster recovery efforts in Nepal can be obtained at www.gfa.org/info/nepal-earthquake.
Gospel for Asia (www.gfa.org) is a mission organization sharing the love of Jesus across South Asia.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Gospel for Asia missionaries from India and local Believers Church members in Nepal distribute desperately needed relief supplies to isolated villages, most of which have been unreached with either relief aid by the government or non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
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