Nightmare in Nepal
A first-hand look at how an earthquake has devastated a nation
Entire villages destroyed, my contact said in an email to me just days after the April 25th earthquake in Nepal. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.
Two days later I slipped “unseen” into the capital city of Kathmandu—larger organizations, I learned, found themselves mired in bureaucratic red tape at the airport as they tried to get their teams and supplies into the country. I met with trusted Heaven’s Family partners who knew where we could go to reach some of those not being helped by anyone else, and then made a plan to navigate the chaotic conditions to reach them.
Passing through the dusty, crowded streets of Kathmandu, I saw many buildings during my first full day here that seemed to have escaped damage from the 7.9 magnitude quake. But punctuating what seems to be normal cityscape for this part of the world are buildings that lean eerily, looking ready to topple if a few pigeons alight on their roofs, while other buildings appear to have been mauled by a Godzilla-like monster that has ripped gaping holes in them, allowing their guts to spill out. Worse are the shapeless mounds of rubble that now stand vigil where buildings once did—many of which still contain the remains of their hapless occupants. The faint stench of decaying flesh continues to mark their untimely graves. And, I later learned, many of the buildings that appear normal from a distance are in fact riddled with cracks, rendering them unsafe.
Today we went out of the city into mountain villages. I have come and I have seen it all with my own eyes. And my contact was right.
Unlike the devastating but relatively localized earthquake that rocked Haiti 5 years ago, the one in Nepal affected a massive area covering one third of this mountainous nation. Driving for hours from Kathmandu we’ve passed one leveled village after another. At times I feel like I am in a war zone. People look dazed, not knowing how or where to start rebuilding their lives.
Most of the village homes, which are owned by subsistence farmers who cultivate a patchwork of terraces on incredibly steep slopes, are made of bricks or rocks mortared together with mud. They crumbled without resistance when the quake shook, burying those inside. Most of them died, but I met a few who, although being buried as well, escaped serious injury.
The need in Nepal is difficult to wrap our minds around, but Jesus is helping many of us wrap our hearts around its people. And I’m happy to report that He’s showing us some exciting, strategic ways Heaven’s Family can help. I’ll be telling you more about them in my next blogs. I hope you’ll stay tuned. Until then, here are some photos that will enable you to see through my eyes.
I’m so grateful for the contributions many have made to Nepal relief through the Disaster Relief Fund. I’ve been encouraged when I see the look of hope on the faces of the Nepalese whom I meet, and I feel confident that together we’ll make a difference there. I thank you on their behalf, and ask you to please pray for the miracles that they need so desperately.
Because of Him,
Director, Disaster Relief Fund
This blog contains much sad news, so I want to end on a happy note, which is not difficult to do when looking into the faces of precious children!