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BMS responds to Nepal earthquake

BMS World Mission is responding with vital emergency and recovery programmes in Nepal, after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit on Saturday (25 April, 2015). An estimated 6.6 million people live in the vicinity most affected by the earthquake.

Nepal300The strength of the initial quake, as well as the multiple aftershocks, has meant that there has been extensive damage to infrastructure and communications networks, particularly in the capital, Kathmandu. This is making the initial response "challenging", BMS said in a statement on its website, but the organisation has personnel already in place in and outside Kathmandu, and is in contact with longstanding and trusted local partners on the ground.

The statement added that All BMS workers in Nepal are safe and accounted for. Partners are contacting their staff around the country.

It also added a number of prayer requests:

Pray for all those affected by the earthquake, that they would receive quick and effective help and that those who mourn would be comforted.
Pray for our partners and mission personnel at this time as they seek to respond practically, compassionately and appropriately.  
Pray for those responding to the destruction, that they would have wisdom, energy and resilience. 
Pray that all those affected would know the love of Christ and would be encouraged by the present and compassionate response of the local Church.

Many Christian agencies are also responding to the disaster.

Baptist World Aid Australia (BWAA) issued a statement to say it is currently working with its Integral alliance partners and three local Nepali partners, United Mission Nepal (UMN), International Nepal Fellowship (INF) and MCDS in assessing the situation. Through these partnerships, BWAA will be working to provide urgent food, water, medical support and emergency shelter for children and families affected.

Christian Aid has launched an emergency appeal. The charity has already sent £50,000 to support the work local partner agencies in the region, and will scale up its operations in the days and weeks ahead.

Christian Aid’s sister agency Lutheran World Foundation Nepal (LWF), part of the ACT Alliance, already has teams in place on the ground. LWF will be assisting with the coordination of emergency supplies at a government-run camp.

Christian Aid’s Ram Kishan, Regional Emergency Manager of South Asia, based in Delhi, said: “Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the region and has one of the least capacities to deal with an emergency of this scale. Medical services and hospitals are facing an immense strain at the moment. In Kathmandu Valley, hospitals are overcrowded, running out of room for storing corpses and also running short of emergency supplies.

“At the moment we know that 6.6m people have been affected. However, the numbers are likely to increase because the earthquake epicentres - mainly Gorkha, Makwanpur and Lamjung - are still not accessible. Those affected will have immediate and long-term needs emerging in the coming days. The most pressing need at the moment is for food, water supplies, medication, blankets, hygiene kits and other essentials for people who are displaced.”

Commenting on the longer term impact, Ram Kishan said: “Largely, people are going to be hit in terms of housing, access to basic amenities and livelihoods. Access to many places in Nepal under normal circumstances is very limited, but many villages are now cut off from the main highways. A lot of people are dependent on small shops, and they will be hard-hit because many of the villages will be cut off: farmers’ produce will not be able to get to the markets.

Tearfund has also launched an emergency appeal. Injured survivors of the Nepal earthquake are inundating hospitals as powerful aftershocks continue to rock the country, according to Tearfund partners.

‘We know that Kathmandu hospitals are overwhelmed with the demands being made on them,’ said John Reynolds of our partner International Nepal Fellowship (INF). ‘The pressing thing is digging people out of collapsed buildings.’

Picture: IRIN

Baptist Times, 27/04/2015
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