28 Apr

LWF emergency team distributes relief goods to vulnerable Nepalese

LWF Nepal distributing much-needed supplies to earthquake victims.  Photo: Laxman Niroula
LWF Nepal distributing much-needed supplies to earthquake victims. Photo: Laxman Niroula

LWF World Service Journalist, Cornelia Kästner, reports from Nepal

KATHMANDU, Nepal / GENEVA, 28 April 2015 (LWI) – Although the LWF office in Kathmandu was not affected by the earthquake, the effects are clearly visible: shelves are tipped to the side, books, files and disks have fallen to the ground. Staff who have come to support the emergency team from other locations are camping in the yard. Even late in the evening there is light, staff assessing the situation and others out in the field distributing relief items to people left homeless by the earthquake or who are too afraid to return to their houses.

Kathmandu lies in the dark. Although electricity is available, only a few houses have lit windows. In the middle of the tourist season many shops remain closed. All along the road people sleep under makeshift shelters made of tarpaulins. Many houses still stand but the windows are dark. “People are afraid,” LWF staff member Duane Poppe says. “Ninety percent of them have a house still standing that they could go back to, but there is an atmosphere of fear in the city. The rumor is that there is an even bigger earthquake coming which will destroy the rest of the city.”

As in previous days, the LWF emergency team has distributed ready-to-eat food and tarpaulins to the most vulnerable people at public distribution points. About 50 families are camping in a city park, some of them because their houses are destroyed, some for fear of aftershocks. “There are many elderly and people with disabilities among them,” Joy Poppe says.

However many people are leaving the city. A stream of overloaded buses and cars goes from Kathmandu on the main road eastward. LWF will start to assess the situation in the countryside in the coming days. “I met a couple from a village just beside the main road to Pokhara,” Joy Poppe relates. “In their village, not a single house is standing anymore. They said, 'All our houses are dust.'” 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.