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Earthquake Devastates Nepal

With more than 6,200 killed and 13,900 injured by April 25th's 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal, AG World Missions is making an appeal for funds in order to rush aid to where it is most desperately needed.

Updated May 1, 2015

Following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday, April 25, that has caused more than 6,200 deaths - with some estimating the toll rising as high as 15,000 - the Assemblies of God is continuing in its efforts to provide aid to victims. With more than 13,900 injured and tens of thousands of homes destroyed, the need is great.

Onsite reports indicate about 100 of the 1,200 Assemblies of God churches across Nepal are among the buildings damaged or destroyed. Many AG families are mourning loved ones. One church lost 15 members when it collapsed during a weekend service.

"The nation of Nepal operates on a six-day work week, with only Saturday as a weekend rest day," says the AG World Missions area director for Southern Asia. "All churches meet on Saturday for worship. Many believers who were unharmed at church returned to destroyed homes and villages."

In the midst of their own loss, believers are reaching out to their communities to offer help and comfort. AG World Missions personnel and Convoy of Hope team members are helping coordinate relief efforts, with local churches taking the initiative.

"At one church where believers faced opposition from the community, the church is now welcoming neighbors in to take shelter," the AGWM area director says.

Food, water, and tarps for shelter are essential to the relief plan. Omar Beiler, AGWM Eurasia regional director, explains that the tarps are necessary as protection from the elements as many victims of the earthquake refuse to seek shelter in buildings, many of which are unstable and crumbling. 

"Our hearts grieve for the many who are suffering in Nepal," Beiler says. "We will do all we can to enable ministry to the suffering and will be assisting the Nepal Assemblies of God as they extend help and hope to the victims of this tragedy. This is a critical opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ."

To date, relief funds have made possible the distribution of the first ton of rice and 200 tarps. Because of frequent aftershocks, people have remained fearful of staying inside buildings, and the tarps create much-needed temporary shelters.

"As I'm making this report," the area director says, "the earthquake alarm is going off. It has done that twice in the last 24 hours."

This is an improvement over alarms being triggered every few minutes in the first days after the quake.

All American AG personnel in Nepal have been reported safe. A team of AGWM workers serving in nearby countries is assembling to help in the enormous relief task anticipated in the weeks and months ahead.

AGWM personnel and the Convoy assessment team have been meeting with national church leaders. Plans are developing to distribute relief supplies in the most accessible areas first, and then to branch out from those distribution centers as roads to outlying communities are reopened.

Besides the continued need for rice and tarps to provide primary food and shelter, other daily necessities include salt, lentils and cooking oil. Landslides have muddied the water supplies of some rural communities, so a plan to distribute clean drinking water is underway.

AG World Missions is raising relief funds to address this critical need. Give online here, or call 877.840.4800 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST) or 866.470.9514 (24/7). Gifts can also be mailed in to AG World Missions / 1445 N. Boonville Ave. / Springfield, MO 65802. Designate "Nepal-AGWM Crisis Response Acct. #891167 (68)" in the memo line of the check.

The Nepal AG church has appointed a relief committee and is dedicated to making the most efficient use of all relief supplies sent to them.

For periodic updates on the Nepal disaster, visit AGWM.com.

Image used in accordance with Creative Commons license. Photo credit: Domenico, Flickr

Scott Harrup

Scott Harrup is senior editor at Convoy of Hope. He previously served as managing editor of the Pentecostal Evangel.