Long before the central Asian nation of Nepal was struck hard by 7.8 earthquake centered near Kathmandu last week (followed by subsequent aftershocks), the Catholic Church and her institutions had been active there. Over 10 years of conflict has cost many Nepalese their lives and battered the Himalayan kingdom’s already weak economy. Catholic Relief Services and Caritas agencies have partnered in advancing education, aiding migrants, and fighting human trafficking, as well as providing relief in this mountainous region prone not only to seismic activity, but also flooding and landslides.
So, as in the case of so many natural disasters, the Catholic Church was there first because the Catholic Church was there before disaster hit. CRS and Caritas had pre-positioned relief supplies in the region and began immediately moving them in to affected areas, particuarly supplying emergency shelter, blankets, water treatment kits and hygiene kits, walking side by side with our Nepalese sisters and brothers as they dig out from this disaster and begin to rebuild their lives.
The response from Catholics has been typically generous. But the work doesn’t end when the cameras go away and the news moves on to newer stories. Our sisters and brothers continue to need your support: your prayers, your awareness, your action, and your generous giving.
We’re starting to get moving photos back from the efforts taking place on the ground. You can see these photos below. Please continue to hold these vulnerable people close.
Collapsed buildings in the town center in Patan, Kathmandu, Nepal after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal and India on April 25, 2015. Photo courtesy of Caritas Australia
Residents and volunteers begin digging out by hand. Jake Lyell for CRS
As much of the mountain terrain of Nepal was hard to access via airplane, many of the relief supplies had to arrive via truck. Jake Lyell for CRS
And for some of the hardest-to-reach regions, supplies have come in via tractors. Jennifer Hardy/CRS
Catholic Relief Services, the Caritas network and Caritas Nepal has rushed tarps, sleeping mats, blankets, hygiene kits and water treatment tablets to families in Gorkha district. CRS reached 502 families during this distribution, or more than 2,500 people. Jennifer Hardy/CRS
The Rana family lost their daughter Bhawana, age 5, when a courtyard collapsed on her in Kathmandu. Her surviving parents and infant sister have traveled to rural Taple to assist the elderly grandparents. Here, Bhawana’s sister Bhumika (2 months) is tended to by her grandmother Modh Maya Rana, 71, in red, and mother Prem Kumari Rana. Jennifer Hardy/CRS
A woman sets up her tent in Lalitpur, Nepal. Photo by Jake Lylell for CRS
More than 100,00 homes were destroyed in the earthquake, upending life for families in both urban Kathmandu and remote mountain communities. CRS staff Elizabeth Tromans is here distributing relief supplies to families in Gorkha district, demonstrating for a child how the ties are used to secure the tarps her team is distributing. Photo by Jennifer Hardy/CRS
In Nepal, CRS is helping the earthquake survivors not just by distributing supplies, but knowledge. Photo by Jennifer Hardy/CRS
Montoring and evaluation are part of CRS’s work, documenting the distribution of supplies electronically and tracking where relief is being distributed and how effectively it is being provided. Photo by Jennifer Hardy/CRS
These residents, made homeless by the earthquake, are taking refuge on the grounds of The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Patan, Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo by Jake Lyle for CRS.
Many of these photos were taken by Jen Hardy, CRS regional information officer for East and Central Asia, who has remained on the ground documenting ongoing relief efforts even through the quake’s aftershocks. She has a message from the people of Nepal:
Edward Hoyt is a web producer for Catholic Relief Services.
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. We are the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a member of Caritas International and the National Catholic Development Conference. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and Pinterest.