A Field Report From Assistant Director Tim Kurth In Nepal:
The immensity of this disaster in Nepal is beginning to take shape in my awareness and is full of the faces of people I met today. ServLife Director Udaya Bhatta invited a local Pastor, Padam, to come share with me. Pastor Padam’s church collapsed totally during the first quake on April 25. Sixteen people died inside the church under the weight of the concrete roof. One small boy died at the hospital from injuries sustained from a piece of steel rebar. Padam, Udaya and I discussed the hundreds of families still not reached with basic food supplies and considered a plan to visit there next week delivering food to 150 families.
Then came Bhaktapur. There the scope of this disaster began to make its impact on me. I was again reminded of the capricious and random nature of disasters. Until Bhaktapur the damage in Kathmandu did not seem as catastrophic as had been reported. But as I walked the narrow winding streets and passed the many temples and monuments of this area I realized no reporting could capture the horror of what happened here.
More than 500 people died in Bhaktapur alone. Buildings severely damaged by the quakes still hang perilously over the streets propped up by large wooden timbers. I couldn’t help but think that in the United States not a single person would be allowed in this area. Yet here a crowd walks between the support beams. Tucked away all around the area are tent cities and parks covered in makeshift tarp structures. Five thousand people in Bhaktapur are living outside in shelters that will do little to keep out the coming monsoons.
The immediate need for better temporary housing is pressing. The process of getting approval to rebuild permanently will take a very long time. Perhaps years! So the people of Bhaktapur are looking for help building temporary metal buildings at a cost of $500 per building.
Pray for Nepal.