Nepal (MNN) — For earthquake survivors, today is devastating, and tomorrow doesn’t look any better.
“I’m estimating the whole year’s budget, for the country, is what they have lost,” says the South Asia Director for Christian Aid Mission.
She just got back from assessing damage and the ongoing needs of Christian Aid’s ministry partners in Nepal.
Multitudes are sleeping in the open, for fear of further tremors and/or earthquakes. Survivors mourn the loss of loved ones and wonder why they’re still here. Foreign aid clogs due to logistical challenges, while anger and disease risks grow.
“It was heartbreaking,” the director says, “but what really stood out to me was how the ministry leaders were not even waiting for any outside help. They had already started bringing relief to these IDP camps.”
Survivors know these people are believers, and that often opens doors further down the road. “Their goal is not really to preach the Gospel right today; they’re building bridges,” she adds.
During her visit, the South Asia Director joined indigenous leaders as they delivered aid to 75 families from four villages. One of the villages, located near the epicenter of the April 25 quake, had yet to receive any help when believers arrived.
“It was very hard to…[see] people who were still waiting for help,” says the director, who was born and raised in Nepal before moving to the U.S.
There were some encouraging signs, the director says, but she knows the hardest part is yet to come.
“There was a lot of love for Nepal; there is a lot of international support…but, you know, people are going to leave. After the relief is done, the first stage, they’re going to go back.”
Over 8 million people are without homes and other necessities as the monsoon season looms. Nepal’s two largest sources of revenue — tourism and agriculture — have essentially been put on hold.
Around 80% of Nepal’s population lives in villages scattered throughout mostly-mountainous terrain, says Christian Aid Mission’s South Asia Director. As a result, they do most of their farming on terraces, or flat step-like spaces layered on the sides of hills or mountains.
“After the earthquake, there [were] several landslides, and…these things were washed off. Now, for them to bring it back to where they can start planting anything, that’s going to hard,” the director explains.
The upcoming monsoon season will bring months-on-end of rain, making the recovery process even harder. Add to that a big loss of tourism revenue — the epicenter of this week’s earthquake was located near Mount Everest, and Nepal’s economic future looks pretty bleak.
Early estimates put quake-related losses at 25% of Nepal’s total GDP, or roughly $5 billion USD, but that was before the May 12 earthquake.
In light of such bleak circumstances and statistics, it’s hard to find a reason to hope. But recovery grows like relationships: one day at a time.
One day at a time
The indigenous ministries in Nepal that Christian Aid Mission assists are well-positioned to help earthquake survivors. With rains and landslides cutting off road access to many areas, local Christian workers know how to get aid to people and how to come alongside shell-shocked survivors in their trauma.
“Pray for those that are left behind…that they will have the peace of Christ,” the director says, requesting prayer for both earthquake survivors and the indigenous missionaries who are helping them.
Pray that believers who survived the earthquake will find comfort in knowing their loved ones are with the Lord. Pray for indigenous missionaries who do everything they can to help those in need.
“There’s been so much destruction, one does wonder: where is God in all of this?” shares the director.
Pray that their faith will remain strong, and pray for opportunities to share the hope of Christ. Ask the Lord to protect Christian workers as they go forth in His name.