Samaritan’s Purse disaster response team members are seeing heartbreaking scenes in Nepal in the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked the impoverished Himalayan nation on April 25.
Our staff is in Nepal to provide emergency shelter, food, clean water, medical care, and meet other urgent needs for victims of the terrible disaster. As they assess the damage and determine where to work, they are witnessing incredible destruction, death, and tragedy.
As aftershocks continue, people are sleeping outside in tents in the rain and mud because they lost their homes or are petrified to stay inside.
“There are a lot of people sleeping out in the streets,” said Patrick Seger, the team leader for our response. “They are fearful of the buildings and don’t want to sleep inside. They are sleeping in the rain because they don’t have any other shelter.”
Buildings have collapsed, debris clogs the streets, people are still unaccounted for, and the death toll is rising daily. The reality of the severe loss is still being uncovered.
“There’s a lot of hurting people here,” Seger said. “A lot of people lost their homes and lost their incomes. They’re trying to figure out what they’re going to do.”
More than 5,000 people are known to have died, and there are fears that number could double as officials dig through the rubble. Over 8,000 were injured. At least 70,000 houses were destroyed. An estimated 2.8 million people have been displaced, including hundreds of thousands who are afraid to return to their houses. Some 8 million people have been affected.
There is not a simple fix for this mass of broken things and broken lives. But our team is here to meet needs for people desperate to survive right now. We are here to look them in the eyes and tell them they’re not alone and healing is possible.
“We’re doing all we can to help those whose lives have been turned upside down by this terrible disaster,” Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham said. “The people of Nepal urgently need our prayers.”
As our team works with church partners to meet needs, we hear the stories of the survivors. They are people like Nanda Gopal, whose home was destroyed by the quake.
Nanda and his family have been organizing a tent community in their village. The majority of people here work as farmers, craftsmen, and taxi drivers. The earthquake destroyed 75 percent of their homes and killed 20 people.
“Everyone was silent and there were no smiles on their faces for two days,” said Binay, 23, Nanda’s son.
He became emotional after talking about the children who lost their lives—specifically a 3-month-old that passed away in the arms of her mother who fell from her house during the earthquake.
“I feel terrible for the people,” he said. “We see the worries in their eyes for their families.”
Our team also met Kumari K.C., who is living in a government building with her mother and two children since the earthquake damaged their home.
When the trembling started, Kumari took off running from her job in a hospital back to the village to find her son and daughter.
On the way, it looked like whole villages were collapsing, and she had little hope that her children would make it.
“I ran to the village with tears in my eyes. I could barely open them because of tears,” she said.
Kumari also worried about her mother, who has breathing problems. The air was so thick with dust and debris. When she arrived home, Kumari found her family was unharmed, although their home was destroyed.
“I have nothing left, but I’m happy that my family is safe,” she said.
Samaritan’s Purse will be helping people like these.
Airports are jammed going into Nepal, and access is challenging, but an initial airlift of 60 tons of relief supplies is expected to arrive on Thursday. We are sending initial supplies for 15,000 households, and anticipate doing more as the response continues.
The medical team and supplies will support mission hospitals that are Samaritan’s Purse partners.
In the coming days and weeks, Samaritan’s Purse will be reaching thousands of Nepalese who need roofs over their heads, safe water to drink, and treatment for injuries.