Nepal: Hundreds of families receive life-saving support

 LWF providing relief materials (ready-to-eat food) to a family whose house was destroyed. Credit: LWF Nepal
LWF providing relief materials (ready-to-eat food) to a family whose house was destroyed. Credit: LWF Nepal

LWF emergency team responds to devastating earthquake

(LWI) - Emergency work is underway in Nepal in the wake of the earthquake Saturday which has cost over 4000 lives and resulted in devastating damage.

“We have become internally displaced now,” Laxman Niroula, Information and Technology Officer with The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Kathmandu, says. “We put up a tarpaulin and a mat, and me and my family are sleeping outside.”

As aftershocks continue to make the situation difficult for the many who have already lost their homes, the LWF, which has been operating in Nepal since 1984, has begun carrying out immediate life-saving emergency work.

Laxman and his colleagues have hardly slept over the past 48 hours. Since the earthquake hit, the emergency team has been working to attend to people in need. In addition to hosting the headquarters of the LWF country program, Kathmandu is also the location of the LWF emergency hub for Asia. “We have more than 100 skilled staff in the region, and have been working with communities in the affected areas for decades,” LWF Humanitarian Coordinator Roland Schlott says. 

Over the weekend, the LWF distributed tarpaulins, hygiene kits and ready-made food to about 400 families in Kathmandu. Along with assessing the situation in remote communities, LWF priorities are now to provide water, sanitation and hygiene materials, as well as emergency shelter to people who lost their homes or who are staying outside for fear of aftershocks.

“There are 100 aftershocks each day. Every time it starts shaking people run outside. Yesterday there was a big aftershock. People here are crying. They are scared,” Laxman says.

“We have been personally involved in rescuing neighbors. There was a five storey building which collapsed, there were eight people in it. We pulled out two people. Others managed to get out on their own.”

The LWF has a fully operational emergency team on the ground in Nepal and is coordinating its efforts with the Nepalese government, the United Nations, and through the ACT Alliance Nepal forum.

 

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The LWF has been operating in Nepal since 1984 on disaster risk reduction and emergency preparedness and response, sustainable livelihoods, and community-led actions for governance and justice. The LWF has a member church in Nepal - Nepal Evangelical Lutheran Church - situated in the far east of the country, away from the epicenter of the earthquake. The church reports that members are safe and have escaped the worst impact.