29 April, 2015

Some inside knowledge on disaster recovery in Nepal

Here are some thoughts on the disaster in Nepal from the man (a missionary in Japan) who led a large relief and recovery organisation in Japan's disaster four years ago:
Some thoughts on the Nepal disaster. 
For most of us, the most important thing we can do for
Nepal is pray.
Every major relief group is now on their way. Praise God! But the Nepalese people and the church are already there. Pray for them as they minister to their own people!
They face huge challenges. Most structures in Nepal are not engineered, meaning they are built by the owner and cannot withstand quakes. With frequent aftershocks people are afraid to go back on their homes. 
Steep valleys, landslides and lack of roads make getting help out to remote regions difficult, dangerous and expensive.
Nepal has a caste structure and excludes the Dalits, leaving them vulnerable.
Because of very few opportunities for work, most young men work as migrants in other Asian countries. This means that in many of the hardest hit rural communities there are very few working age men.
Usually OperationSafe is run by local volunteers but we learned after Haiyan in the Philippines that many of our volunteers would be hired away for day labor by other relief organizations. Local orgs face similar issues. This and other underlying poverty factors will increase costs and need to be considered. 
After Japan's tsunami all of the major relief agencies spent the first weeks just trying to get started, but churches in Japan were able to move quickly with immediate aid, rapidly making contacts and setting up forward bases because of their existing relationships and local knowledge. And now that others have left, the ones that remain are the churches.
Pray for the Christians of Nepal to be strong though they are few. Pray for them to be a window for love from believers all over the world to touch their community. Pray for them to speak boldly for the needs of their neighbors even though foreigners are making key decisions.
How to Pray:
  • For the Nepalese church (according to Wikipedia, government records show 1.4% of the population is Christian).
  • For all who are Christians in the country, that they will be a "window of love from believers all over the world" in their own communities.
  • Money would be used wisely and corruption and red tape would not impact on relief and recovery.
  • For more details on how to pray, go here.

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