Nepal devastated by 7.9 magnitude earthquake
On 25 April 2015, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal between Kathmandu and Pokhara. The devastation in Kathmandu is immense, and communities across India and Bangladesh as well as on Mount Everest have also been affected. The death toll stands at more than 4,100 with thousands injured. With extensive damage to buildings and continuing aftershocks in the region, many people are sleeping outside and require shelter and protection from the cold and rain.
Caritas Australia, the international aid and development agency of the Catholic Church, has three staff members currently in Kathmandu who are working with Caritas Nepal in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.
Caritas Australia Program Coordinator, Nepal, Eleanor Trinchera, reports from on the ground in Kathmandu, “I have never seen so much devastation. While the streets are rife with activity and chaos as people try to find loved ones and friends, the city is paralysed with destroyed buildings, blocked roads, intermittent power and rolling aftershocks.”
“We are working with our Caritas Nepal team to coordinate rescue efforts and our immediate emergency response.”
Caritas Australia, part of the second largest humanitarian network in the world, has worked in Nepal for decades.
Caritas Nepal Director, Father Pius Perumana SJ, said from Kathmandu: "It was the worst earthquake I have ever experienced in my life. The aftershocks are still strong."
He said that there has been lots of physical damage, electricity has been down making communications difficult and roads are blocked. "Lots of houses have fallen down and there are lots with cracks. Thank God it was during the day and on a holiday as many people were outside when the quake happened."
Assessments are coming in and Caritas teams in country are organising the response. "Rescue is the still the main priority at the moment. Lots of people have lost their homes and are out on the street or in open spaces, so we will be looking to provide them with food and temporary shelter," said Father Pius.
At the time the earthquake struck Ms Trinchera was an hour out of Kathmandu, when they drove back she describes the scene, “we witnessed terrible scenes of destruction - hospitals were evacuated with patients being treated on the ground outside, homes and buildings demolished and some roads cracked wide open.”
The international Caritas network has begun procuring emergency relief materials such as tarpaulins/shelter kits and water, sanitation and hygiene materials.
In view of this tragic situation, Caritas is seeking your support for the Caritas Australia Nepal Earthquake Appeal.
Donate to Caritas Australia’s Nepal Earthquake Appeal to respond to this disaster at by calling the hotline 1800 024 413, or visiting caritas.org.au/nepalearthquake or by posting a cheque/money order to Caritas Australia, 24-32 O’Riordan Street, Alexandria, NSW 2015.