Earthquake response: Feeding hungry in Nepal
“We are in the wilderness. We are unable to die. We are unable to live,” said a young woman in Tindhara, Nepal, a small community east of Kathmandu.
Tindhara is in the Sindhupalchok district, where almost half of the casualties occurred following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the country April 25. In Tindhara, 34 people died and of the 223 houses, 212 collapsed and 11 were rendered unsafe to live in. Without tents, the community members have been creating shelter using corrugated metal from the ruins of their homes, propping them on stilts made of branches or bamboo.
The families were hungry, too. Their farm tools were buried under heavy brick and sharp beams of broken wood, and any food that had been stored in homes was now mixed with dust and mud, making it inedible.
More than a week after the earthquake, the more than 200 families in Tindhara still had not received any aid.
Nepal District Superintendent Dilli and the Nazarene disaster response team loaded four flatbed trucks with hundreds of 50-pound sacks of rice, along with some salt and oil, and started driving toward Tindhara May 3. The 60-km trek from Kathmandu took more than six hours because of the weight of their loads and the poor condition of the earthquake-scarred roads.
The trucks loaded with food were brought by a team of more than 20 Nazarene pastors, lay leaders, and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries staff. Each family gathered to pick up rice, salt, and oil — enough food to feed each family for a month.
Reflecting on the days when they were waiting for help to arrive, one woman said, “We just boiled water and take that water; that’s all [we’ve had] since the earthquake.”
The pastors assembled a list of every household and how many members lived in each home to determine their food allotment. The distribution took about three hours.
“If we do not get this food, we may die,” said Juamaya Tamang. “We do not have anything in the house.”
Juamaya and her husband, Jitbhadur, built a shelter after their house collapsed during the quake. Although Juamaya was outside, Jitbhadur was buried in rubble and had to be dug out by their neighbors.
Their story is common.
"On our journey [through the Sindhupalchok district], we were able to witness the full extent of the damage wrought by the earthquake,” said Joerg Eich, NCM coordinator for the Eurasia Region. “The whole area is destroyed. All of the traditionally-built houses have collapsed, and even the ones that are still standing have huge cracks and really can't be lived in anymore."
Nazarene church leaders chose Tindhara because of its remote location as well as a connection to a young Nazarene from Kathmandu who hopes to establish long-term community development programs there.
“I’m very happy,” the young man said. “I can help my neighbors. Please support us and encourage us to raise our God and our Jesus.”
Juamaya and her husband echoed the thanks of the young Nazarene man.
“[To] those who brought and those who gave, tell them thanks from our heart,” Juamaya said. “You came while we suffer and you brought us these things and we are giving thanks from our heart.”
How to Help
Pray for those who are grieving, pray for those who are hungry and hurting, pray for vulnerable children and families, pray for those responding to the disaster, and pray for our church leaders and members in Nepal.
Churches and individuals around the world can support disaster response efforts by giving to the Nepal Earthquake Fund. Donations will be used to meet immediate needs, such as water, food, and shelter, as well as long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts.
To send donations by mail, find your country below.
In the U.S., make checks payable to "General Treasurer" and send them to:
Global Treasury Services Church of the Nazarene P.O. Box 843116 Kansas City, MO 64184-3116
Be sure to put ACM1549 in the Memo area.
In Canada, make checks payable to "Church of the Nazarene Canada" and send them to:
Church of the Nazarene Canada 20 Regan Road, Unit 9 Brampton, Ontario L7A 1C3
Be sure to put ACM1549 in the Memo area.
In Germany, send your donation to Helping Hands Germany:
Helping Hands e.V. - Gelnhausen, Germany
IBAN DE56 5075 0094 0000 022394
For any other country, give through your local church or district, designating your gift to the NCM Nepal Earthquake Relief.
To stay updated on news from Nepal, visit ncm.org/nepal.