Nepal (MNN) — The United States Geological Survey (USGS) warns that even though aftershocks are normal after a major earthquake, the next few days could bring a lot of tremors to Nepal.
These expected incidents serve to highlight the challenges facing response teams. Not only are they dealing with the challenging logistics of the region, but they’re also dealing with the psychological trauma that re-awakens with every vibration.
Phil Liller with Global Aid Network is the logistics center director and a member of their assessment team to Nepal. The rubble is a constant reminder of the work yet left to do. “We’re into the relief phase where we’re getting food, water, and temporary shelter. But, the recovery effort really will take years. In some areas of the country, like the mountain areas, there were over 95% of the homes destroyed.”
The quake displaced nearly 3 million and affected more than 4 million people. The collapse of buildings may have ceased, but the collapse of infrastructure brings with it huge consequences. “There’s going to be malnutrition in the little kids, but there’s also going to be a general lack of food in some of these communities where the rice and beans that we pack up will be a welcome addition when we can get it out there. I also think that the most immediate need is going to be shelter because the monsoon rains are going to be coming in about a month.”
People living in mountain villages experience greater suffering because roads are rugged and travel is difficult. They receive less media attention and aid reaches them last, if at all. However, Liller says, “There are 300 Nepalese nationals. They are actually doing the distribution right now with their people. We’re working to get them the shelters, the food. Money was given almost immediately by The JESUS Film Project and other Campus Crusade organizations.”
According to a GAiN Frontline Brief report, the roads up to these overlooked villages are hard to navigate. Small trucks are being used to haul supplies up the mountain. In some cases, the vehicles couldn’t handle the roads, so some of the team completed the journey on foot.
On that trip, the team helped hundreds of people in two villages NNW of Kathmandu in the Sunkhani area. GAiN and Nepal CCC loaded a truck with bundles of food, each consisting of 30 kg of rice, 2 kg of lintels, 2 kg of sugar, 2 liters of oil, 5 kg of rice, some tea, a washcloth, and soap. The national team expects to serve at least 1,000 families.
Everybody expects that survivors will be traumatized by a disaster, especially since their world has collapsed around them twice. Relief groups aren’t generally prepared to deal with the mental toll of disasters. However, more and more ministries are adding trauma counseling or other emotional support to their relief programs. GAiN is one of them. They offer spiritual hope as they deliver food, clothes, tents, and water filters. “It happens through every action that we take,” explains Liller. “When we distribute food, tarps, or tents–whatever it is, the people there know it’s because of the love of God that people there are doing that.”
When the teams say “seeds are planted” during relief work, this is what it means: “It also develops relationships within those villages, those communities, so that when the team goes back, they can spend a little bit more time when the immediate crisis of the food and shelter is over,” says Liller. Consider this: the right kind of help can replace a disaster’s anxiety and uncertainty with hope for the future. “Let’s pray for God to use the agencies that are working there now (Global Aid Network is one of them) to help the people in Nepal and to share God’s love.”
Click here to read GAiN’s Nepal proposal.