Nepal (MNN) — More than 1.4 million people affected by the April 25 earthquake in Nepal are in need of emergency aid.
Early estimates on death toll were at 5,000, but Baptist Global Response Executive Director Jeff Palmer says it could double. “Outside of the city [Kathmandu], up toward the epicenter area, we’re finding whole villages and communities that are just completely devastated.”
His warning was echoed by Nepal’s Prime Minister Tuesday. Some villages were reachable only by air after landslides blocked mountain roads.
Getting aid into remote areas was complicated by pouring rain, mud, and landslides. Combined with the cooler temperatures, this will make it hard on the masses living in tents and temporary shelters. With continuing aftershocks and chaos, the government is asking that only the trained first responders be on the scene. Even with this request, the airport is getting bottlenecked. “Just getting goods in and getting people out, it’s really beginning to backlog right now,” says Palmer.
Palmer says their team is part of a coalition that launched among local churches in Nepal. “We had just trained about ten national partner organizations in Nepal, in Kathmandu, in late February/March in international disaster response in what we call ‘United Nations Sphere Standards.'”
As the team completes a needs assessment in the rural areas, BGR released an initial $50,000 to assist with the first-stage response. One of the first questions potential donors ask is, ‘How do we know the money will get used appropriately? Palmer explains this is why they work with national church leaders. “It gives us a high degree of confidence that these are folks that are going to be helping people in their immediate need, both physically and spiritually.”
BGR is also organizing a Disaster Assessment and Response Team (DART) from the United States. (More on that to follow.)
The leader of BGR’s coordinated response, Francis Horton, asked supporters to pray that people in the quake zone would receive the shelter and lifelines they need to survive, that first responders would have the resources they need to help people, and that the BGR assessment team would have knowledge and good judgment as they begin to put together a response plan.
And remember, says Palmer, “It’s not just help for today, but help for eternity, as well, and that help comes through the message of the Gospel.”
Pray for earthquake survivors as they struggle with loss of life as well as with limited food, water, and shelter. Pray also for strength and protection for those involved in rescue. Click here for more prayer requests from Nepal.