Episcopal Relief & Development responds to Nepal earthquake

Posted May 5, 2015

[Episcopal Relief & Development press release] A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on the morning of April 25, causing severe damage and loss of life across the small nation. Episcopal Relief & Development will help meet urgent needs such as food, clean water and shelter, as well as support for assessment and search and rescue teams in the initial phase of the disaster, through the ACT Alliance in Nepal and with partners in surrounding areas including northern India and southwest China.

Episcopal Relief & Development is responding to immediate needs for food, shelter and clean water in earthquake-impacted Nepal through the ecumenical ACT Alliance, and is exploring further opportunities for action through other partners in the region.  The organization is in contact with the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia regarding its appeal for the work of the Deanery of Nepal (part of the Diocese of Singapore), and may also support partners in northern India and southwest China.

“Responding through the ACT Alliance as an initial step allows Episcopal Relief & Development to relay the care and support of our community to those in Nepal who are hurting from the earthquake and its aftermath,” said Abagail Nelson, the organization’s Senior Vice President of Programs.  “Our support is essential as the Alliance leverages strong local partnerships to assess and meet the needs of thousands of people for food, shelter and clean water.  Our prayers are with all those in Nepal and the surrounding area who are working to heal lives shattered by this event.”

The ACT Alliance issued an official appeal on May 1 detailing proposed activities to reach approximately 125,000 people in the most severely affected districts of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Dhading, Gorkha, Sindhupalchowk, Lamjung and Kabre.  Although some of the estimated 2.8 million people displaced by the earthquake are returning to their homes, shelter is a top priority for the 70,000 families whose homes were destroyed and the additional 900,000 people who are sleeping outside their undamaged homes for fear of aftershocks.  The ACT Alliance aims to reach 12,000 families with supplies and training to construct temporary shelters, and provide support for 2,500 vulnerable households to rebuild their permanent homes.  Additional priorities include the provision of food and household items, as well as supplying clean water and installing or rehabilitating sanitation systems in camps and established neighborhoods.  ACT Alliance members in Nepal have already distributed ready-to-eat food, blankets and tarps for emergency shelter to over 2,100 families in informal displacement camps around Kathmandu.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25 was centered between the capital, Kathmandu, and the city of Pokhara, 130 miles west.  The original quake and powerful subsequent aftershocks leveled neighborhoods, businesses and iconic religious sites, particularly those in older or poorer areas where structures were made of mud brick.  The death toll as of May 5 exceeds 7,300, with search and rescue operations still in progress.

Initial relief operations are focused on meeting urgent basic needs of people who were displaced or otherwise impacted by the earthquake.  Assessments currently underway will help inform medium- and long-term efforts to help those most vulnerable to make a full and sustained recovery.  With the planting season reportedly six weeks away and monsoon rains beginning in eight weeks, timely action is needed in order to avoid prolonging emergency needs.

Episcopal Relief & Development and its peers in the Anglican Alliance, the group of Anglican Communion relief and development agencies, urge prayers for all those impacted by the earthquake in Nepal.

Please pray for those impacted by this disaster.  To support the Nepal Earthquake Response Fund, please visit episcopalrelief.org.

Episcopal Relief & Development works with more than 3 million people in nearly 40 countries worldwide to overcome poverty, hunger and disease through multi-sector programs that utilize local resources and expertise. An independent 501(c)(3) organization, Episcopal Relief & Development works closely with Anglican Communion and ecumenical partners to help communities rebuild after disasters and develop long-term strategies to create a thriving future. In 2014-15, the organization joins Episcopalians and friends in celebrating 75 Years of Healing a Hurting World.