New damage and disease threaten Nepal

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Lutheran World Relief, a member of the ecumenical aid organization ACT Alliance, distributes emergency supplies to people in Nepal, but an LWF report says the need for tarpaulins to shelter people who have been displaced from their homes far exceeds the number distributed. Photo: Courtesy of ACT Allliance
Lutheran World Relief, a member of the ecumenical aid organization ACT Alliance, distributes emergency supplies to people in Nepal, but an LWF report says the need for tarpaulins to shelter people who have been displaced from their homes far exceeds the number distributed. Photo: Courtesy of ACT Allliance

Two weeks before the May 25 deadline set by the Canadian government for matching donations given to registered charities for earthquake relief in Nepal, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) announced that Anglicans had so far donated $167, 937.

The need for aid was tremendous after a massive earthquake hit the country on April 25, killing more than 8,000 people, injuring more than 17,866, displacing two million people from their homes and devastating much of the country’s infrastructure.

And the situation worsened when a second quake of 7.3 magnitude struck on May 12, killing an additional 66 people and causing further damage to housing and infrastructure. According to information from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), many areas around the epicentre are particularly susceptible to landslide, and some slides have already been reported in Langtang region in the Himalayas. Reports of people buried under rubble were coming in from across the country, the UN News Service reported.

Officials from the UN World Health Organization (WHO) have also warned of an increasing threat of disease in the country, the UN News Service has reported. “We have a four-week window to preposition medical supplies in affected districts and strengthen the country’s water, sanitation and hygiene systems so as to shield it against the threat of disease outbreaks,” said Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia. “These include water-borne and vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria, along with acute respiratory infections.”

PWRDF initially released an aid grant of $20,000 right after the first quake, which was channelled through its partner ACT Alliance, a global ecumenical organization that works on the ground in emergencies worldwide.

PWRDF communications co-ordinator Simon Chambers said that PWRDF has helped to provide food, blankets and tarpaulins to 820 families hardest hit by the earthquake in the Katmandu Valley.

“Lack of shelter remains the biggest challenge,” with more than 900,000 shell-shocked survivors still sleeping outdoors, according to a report from Lutheran World Federation, an ACT Alliance member that launched “a large-scale emergency response” in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lamjung and Pokhara, where it has been operating for years. “The need for tarpaulins by far exceeds the number given out,” the report said.

According to the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS), 18 Anglican church buildings have been destroyed. More than 8,000 homes in the communities where the church was present were also destroyed, according to the Rev. Lewis Lew, dean of the deanery of Nepal, which is under the oversight of the diocese of Singapore in the ecclesiastical province of South East Asia.

“We have lost many members, including a dear pastor,” said Lew, who earlier confirmed in a letter that Pastor Laxman Tamang and 17 parishioners in the church in the village of Choke in Dhading district were killed in the April 25 quake.

“This will be an important time for the Anglican Church in Nepal, and we need your prayers, for myself and the clergy team from Singapore, as we stand together with our brethren,” he said.

PWRDF said Canadian Anglicans wishing to support its relief efforts in Nepal can do so:

Online

You can designate your online donation at pwrdf.org for “Nepal Earthquake.”

By phone

For credit card donations, contact:

Ricky de Castro

416-924-9192 ext. 318;

1-866-308-7973

Please do not send your credit card number by email or fax.

 

By mail

Please make cheques payable to “PWRDF,” mark them for “Nepal Earthquake” and send them to:

The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund,

The Anglican Church of Canada

80 Hayden St.

Toronto, ON M4Y 3G2.

 

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Leigh Anne Williams
Leigh Anne Williams joined the Anglican Journal in 2008 as a part-time staff writer. She also works as the Canadian correspondent for Publishers Weekly, a New York-based trade magazine for the book publishing. Prior to this, Williams worked as a reporter for the Canadian bureau of TIME Magazine, news editor of Quill & Quire, and a copy editor at The Halifax Herald, The Globe and Mail and The Bay Street Bull.

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