This past weekend, Nepal’s Home Ministry confirmed that more than 8,500 people died during the earthquakes and tremors of the past month, making it the deadliest disaster in Nepalese history.
With the images of the tragedy filling TV screens and social media feeds, millions were asking how they could help the people of Nepal and those groups ministering on the ground.
Facts & Trends spoke with several Christian humanitarian groups about the situation on the ground in Nepal, what they were doing, and how people could best partner with their work.
Baptist Global Response
Jeff Palmer, executive director of Baptist Global Response, says that while much of the media focus has been on the city of Kathmandu, “current assessments are showing a much greater destruction and per capita loss of life/homes the closer one moves toward the epicenter in Gorkha.”
The government of Nepal has taken the lead in the overall response and is encouraging organizations to move out toward the harder hit areas. “This is not as easy as it sounds,” says Palmer, “in that the pre-existing infrastructure in Nepal was not great and the earthquake has done major damage to it.”
Providentially, BGR had trained several partner organizations in Nepal earlier this year using the Sphere Project Training, “the most widely known and accepted training for meeting the needs of people affected by a humanitarian crisis.”
Through this, immediately after the earthquakes, BGR formed a Coalition of Christian Disaster Responders of 10 to 12 local organizations and 20 to 25 people.
Currently, they have mobilized eight truckloads of food to surrounding areas and sent a Disaster Assessment and Response Team from the U.S. that included a disaster response trained medical doctor. This group has made it to the epicenter and was able to give feedback for long-term response plans.
Palmer says those interested in helping with BGR efforts in Nepal can visit GoBGR.org to see how to pray for the people and the work being done and give to their efforts. People can also make donations to BGR at their local Lifeway store.
According to Amy Parodi, a media relations director for World Vision, their ministry “had about 200 staff members—most of them Nepalese nationals—in country already doing long-term community development work” at the time of the earthquake. They have since sent in international staff to provide support and additional expertise.
Parodi says World Vision has “distributed immediate relief supplies (blankets, tarpaulins for shelter, clean water, personal hygiene kits, cooking supplies, etc.) and plan to reach about 100,000 people in some of the hardest hit communities with these supplies.”
They have also opened a “Child Friendly Space and will open several more in the coming days.” Parodi says these spaces are safe, supervised environments where children can play. She further explained, “Pragmatically, these spaces keep children safe and supervised in a potentially physically dangerous situation. Psychosocially, these facilities allow children an emotionally safe place to play, a bit of structure to their days, and a chance to just be children in an otherwise frightening environment.”
Those who would like to help with World Vision efforts can donate online at WorldVision.org; texting the word “NEPAL” to 777444 (makes an automatic $10 donation); or they can call to donate at 888-56-CHILD (888-562-4453).
Chris Toews, deputy director of international projects for Samaritan’s Purse, says the situation in Nepal is dire. “Villages are decimated,” he says. “They have been reduced to rubble and piles of stone.”
He says they have more than 30 people on the ground, including seven-member mobile medical teams. Currently, Samaritan’s Purse is handing out food items, blankets, water, hygiene kits, and temporary shelter to around 30,000 households.
Toews asked for prayers specifically about the logistics of getting items into Nepal and out to the most affected places. For those who would like to see more ways they can pray about the situation or give to the efforts of Samaritan’s Purse there, visit SamaritansPurse.org.
These are just a few of the organizations providing relief efforts in Nepal. We will be updating this post as we learn about other organizations working in the area.