Six months after deadly earthquakes devastated Nepal, killing more than 8,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless, local Nazarene churches continue to respond to ongoing needs.
On April 25, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake demolished 500,000 homes and killed more than 8,000 people. The quake was felt as far as Delhi and Kolkata, India, and Dhaka, Bangladesh, and it left 1.7 million children at risk for severe malnutrition, cholera, and other water-related diseases. It was followed by a 7.3-magnitude earthquake on May 12, which killed more than 150 people and injured more than 3,200.
After the April 25 temblor, the Church of the Nazarene in Nepal began providing relief aid in several of the most affected communities, particularly in hard-to-reach areas missed by other organizations. Over the course of several weeks, the church’s disaster teams provided 31 tons of food to more than 5,300 people, as well as emergency shelter (tents, tarps, corrugated galvanized iron sheeting) to 350 households.
A woman named Nirmala in the Dhading district lives with her two young sons. The mother “saw our house was in the ground within a second. … My sons and some neighbors and I are staying outside under a tarpaulin. All our stored food was destroyed. … I am thankful [for the food aid],” she said.
In the Nuwakot district, a man named Markush was one of 56 people who received iron sheets for their households. He was in church when the earthquake hit.
“My house can be seen from the church, so I looked down at my house it was completely destroyed,” he said. “My neighbors’ houses were also destroyed, and three people were killed that day in my neighborhood.
“Due to rainy season it was getting difficult for us to live under a tarpaulin. My children were suffering from colds and fever due to getting wet by the rain. At night it was very difficult to sleep because of mosquitoes.”
The church in Nepal is now focused on long-term recovery efforts, including helping families build permanent housing.
They have also provided food for 1,000 farming families for three months through a partnership with Canadian Foodgrains Bank. About 80 percent of families in Nepal depend on subsistence farming for survival. The earthquake wiped out crops, so this aid provides food while families are waiting for their next harvest.
During the relief phase of the disaster response, teams in Nepal also distributed water filters to more than 1,550 households, providing clean, safe drinking water for approximately 7,775 people in partnership with Sawyer International, as well as 9,000 hygiene kits to families, in partnership with Heart to Heart International.
Following the earthquake, many existing water supplies were contaminated, leaving families with no access to safe drinking water. The point-of-use water filters provided are designed to remove harmful bacteria that cause life-threatening illnesses, such as typhoid and diarrhea.
A man named Dorje in the Sindupolchok district explained that the water from the taps in his community was mixed with mud and sand following the earthquake.
“Now my family and I can drink clean water,” he said. “I am very happy.”
A woman from the Lalitpur District is also thankful for the filters.
“Before the earthquake it was safe to drink, but after the earthquake, because of the quake, sandy water started to come from the tap,” Gita said. “I am very happy to receive it [the filer], and I will get to drink clean, germ-free water."
As part of their long-term efforts, the church in Nepal is also planning to build nine new child-focused community development centers in impoverished communities. The centers will provide education, nutrition, emotional support, and spiritual nurturing to hundreds of children. There were 13 centers in Nepal before the earthquake. The first building is already in process.
In addition to child development, the church will assist with community development efforts, such as self-help groups, small business development, backyard gardens, and life skills training, as an opportunity for families to interrupt the cycle of poverty.
The process of recovery for families and communities in Nepal will not be fast. The country currently has a fuel shortage due to political unrest, making it difficult to travel and get supplies. But the church in Nepal will be there to walk alongside those in need as long as it takes.
Additional stories and videos of the church’s work in Nepal can be found at ncm.org/Nepal.
How to help
Continue to pray for children, families, and individuals who are still living in tents or under tarps. Pray for farming families as they work to restore their crops. Pray for the children who will become part of the Nazarene child development centers in the coming months and years. Pray for church leaders and congregations as they minister to others. To send a prayer or message of encouragement, visit ncm.org/pray.
Churches and individuals who want to support the church’s recovery efforts in Nepal can give 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.