According to the United Nations, as of 28 April, the Government reports 4,358 deaths and 8,174 injured people. Search and rescue teams have saved 14 people from the rubble. 8,174 people are reported injured. These numbers are likely to rise as isolated communities are reached. 8 million people are reported to be affected.
Dozens of people are also reported to have been killed in neighbouring China and India.
The earthquake is the most powerful to hit the region in 81 years. The death toll is likely to rise as there is little information from remote outlying areas of the mountainous country. The tremors were felt as far afield as Delhi and Dhaka. The tremors flattened houses, caused huge craters and cracks in roads in Kathmandu, and sent people running out of their offices and homes. Massive damage to property and infrastructure has been reported in Kathmandu and outlying villages, which are cut off by landslides on the roads.
The devastation is not only confined to some areas of Nepal, almost the entire country has been affected. The government of Nepal has appealed to the international community for emergency assistance as the scale of the disaster is beyond the capacities of the national authorities.
“Many buildings in Kathmandu, especially those in old Kathmandu city, had collapsed,” reports Rev Lewis Lew, “The quake also hit Mt Everest, and it had resulted in many avalanches. Authorities are still trying to account for the mountaineers. We are not able to contact our churches outside of Kathmandu, as communication is totally cut off outside of Kathmandu. We are particularly concerned for our churches near the epicentre, those in Gorkha, Bhaktapur & Dhading districts. I am working with our brothers to see what kind of help is needed and how we can support them.”
Reports have come via personal channels that people are sleeping outside, even those who have not lost their homes, for fear of further tremors causing building collapse.
Fears that Tibetan refugees will have been badly affected are also reported by the BBC.
Bishop Rennis Ponniah, in Singapore, has been in regular contact with messages of encouragement and updates on practical support:
“My heart is sorrowful over the tragedy that has occurred in our Deanery country of Nepal. Our thoughts and prayers are constantly with you, my dear fellow shepherds, as you respond to the immense suffering and shock experienced by our people.
“May the Lord give you special grace at this time to comfort those who have suffered great loss as a result of the earthquake and help them to find strength in God to go on living.
“Bishop Kuan Kim Seng, our Director of Missions, has put our ACROSS Crisis Relief team in ‘ready to move’ mode. Dean Lewis is updating us constantly on the situation. We are with you in heart, in tears and in hope . We stand ready to come alongside with practical help. We long to be with you and will do so soon.”
Dean Lewis Lew writes, “I just received news that Dhading district, where many of our village churches are located had been badly hit by the quake. Buildings, houses, schools and even our church buildings had all collapsed. “Nothing is standing”, exclaimed one of our pastors on the ground. Death toll is expected to be high. The houses and church in the village where I had recently visited and ministered to in the mountains are no longer standing. The survivors are badly shaken. They are waiting for aid. There is a shortage of clean water and food and electricity has been cut off. This disaster has claimed so far more than 2000 lives and more than 8000 are injured. Tremors are still being felt every half an hour, even in Kathmandu.
“Please uphold in your prayers the disaster and relief team coming from India, US and UK, and the medical and crisis relief teams that will be leaving from Singapore soon. Some of you have asked me how you or your church can help in practical ways. I want to say thank you for your willingness to support the Deanery of Nepal. Can I ask you to wait for a while more, I will come back to you. I hope to get more ground reports on what are the needs and how we can help practically, and also this will give me a chance to consult our bishops on how we can come alongside our folks in the deanery.”
While work is being done to assess the situation on the ground in Nepal, churches and agencies around the Anglican Communion have launched appeals for the massive relief response that will be needed to help recovery from this devastating earthquake.
The Diocese of Singapore has more information on its website, Nepal Earthquake: How you can help, including points for prayer.
The Diocese of West Malaysia has launched an appeal to support the Diocese of Singapore in its relief work in Nepal, through its crisis relief ministry: Anglican Crisis Relief, Outreach & Support, Singapore (ACROSS). Details will be available soon.
Other appeals are linked below:
Please pray for those affected by this earthquake, the subsequent aftershocks and the landslides and avalanches these have caused. Here is an adaptation of Psalm 23, from Christian Aid
Lord, who is our shepherd,
We pray for the people of Nepal in this time of want.
Guide those who grieve to still waters; restore their soul.
Lead those who are searching to the right places.
Comfort those who are trapped in the darkest valley of fear.
May generosity and compassion overflow in response
so that goodness and mercy may follow all
who will live in the shadow of this earthquake.
May they dwell in secure houses and
know healing and protection all their life long.
Photo credit: trust.org